Rants

Clive Thompson — Coders: The Making of A New Tribe and The Remaking of The World — Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for The Better — Videos

Posted on September 4, 2019. Filed under: American History, Anthropology, Blogroll, Books, College, Congress, Cult, Culture, Data, Economics, Education, Employment, High School, history, Journalism, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Math, media, Medicine, Money, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Programming, Psychology, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Sociology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Clive Thompson

CLIVE THOMPSON: HOW TECH REMADE THE WORLD

Clive Thompson: Where do Big Ideas Come From?

Smarter Than You Think | Clive Thompson

Clive Thompson’s New Book Smarter Than You Think | Keen On…

Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson | Animated Book Review

Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson Audiobook

Coding Culture

“Learning to Code is Not Just for Coders” | Ali Partovi | TEDxSausalito

TEDx Talks

Published on Dec 1, 2016
COFOUNDER, CODE.ORG, ILIKE, & LINKEXCHANGE “Every child in America deserves access to Computer Science.” Described by the San Jose Mercury News as one of “Silicon Valley’s top angel investors,” Ali Partovi has backed Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, Uber, and Zappos. In 2013, Partovi helped his twin brother Hadi launch Code.org, which promotes computer science education and has introduced 200 million kids to computer programming via the “Hour of Code.” Early in his career he cofounded LinkExchange and later iLike.

How I taught myself to code | Litha Soyizwapi | TEDxSoweto

Learn the basics. Learn by doing. Apply Knowledge.

What do programmers actually do?

Programmer: Reality vs Expectations (Computer Programmer) Part 1

Programmer: Reality vs Expectations (Computer Programmer) Part 2

Rags to Microsoft Software Developer – My Life Story

Microsoft laid me off after 15 years of service. My life after Microsoft?

Microsoft ruined MY weekend… MY LAN party & My LIFE! WHY!

Microsoft ruined MY weekend… MY LAN party & My LIFE! WHY!

The Real Story of the Homeless Coder | Mashable Docs

Top 10 Worst Things about Programming

here i listed them all:
10-commute 9-your work doesn’t exist 8-constant changing 7-meetings 6-your company changes 5-visibility office politics 4-sitting at desk all day 3-stress 2-arrogant people 1-bad code/manager

Top 10 Programmer Benefits

Learn Programming | Best Tips & Secrets

Top 10 Questions Coders Need to ASK in Interviews!

It’s The Culture Stupid | Coder Radio 336

Uncle Bob Martin – The Clean Coder

“Uncle” Bob Martin – “The Future of Programming”

Published on May 18, 2016

How did our industry start, what paths did it take to get to where we are, and where is it going. What big problems did programmers encounter in the past? How were they solved? And how do those solutions impact our future? What mistakes have we made as a profession; and how are we going to correct them. In this talk, Uncle Bob describes the history of software, from it’s beginnings in 1948 up through the current day; and then beyond. By looking at our past trajectory, we try to plot out where our profession is headed, and what challenges we’ll face along the way. Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob) has been a programmer since 1970. He is the Master Craftsman at 8th Light inc, an acclaimed speaker at conferences worldwide, and the author of many books including: The Clean Coder, Clean Code, Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices, and UML for Java Programmers.

The Future of Programming – .NET Oxford – April 2019

Published on May 1, 2019

The Future of Programming 2019 Update How did our industry start, what paths did it take to get to where we are, and where is it going. What big problems did programmers encounter in the past? How were they solved? And how do those solutions impact our future? What mistakes have we made as a profession; and how are we going to correct them. In this talk, Uncle Bob describes the history of software, from it’s beginnings in 1948 up through the current day; and then beyond. By looking at our past trajectory, we try to plot out where our profession is headed, and what challenges we’ll face along the way. Robert Martin visited .NET Oxford in the UK, where this talk was recorded. For more information about the .NET Oxford user-group, please visit https://www.meetup.com/dotnetoxford.

Interview With Bob Martin (Uncle Bob)

Artificial Intelligence, the History and Future – with Chris Bishop

A New Philosophy on Artificial Intelligence | Kristian Hammond | TEDxNorthwesternU

Why Is Deep Learning Hot Right Now?

Deep Learning Tutorial with Python | Machine Learning with Neural Networks [Top Udemy Instructor]

Elon Musk: Tesla Autopilot | Artificial Intelligence (AI) Podcast

Eric Weinstein: Revolutionary Ideas in Science, Math, and Society | Artificial Intelligence Podcast

Tom Lehrer – Poisoning Pigeons In The Park

Tom Lehrer – We Will All Go Together When We Go

Tom Lehrer: The Vatican Rag (concert live) (1965)

Tom Lehrer – The Irish Ballad – LIVE FILM From Copenhagen in 1967

Tom Lehrer Full Copenhagen Performance

Tom Lehrer Interview NPR January 4, 1979

MIT Self-Driving Cars: State of the Art (2019)

MIT Deep Learning Basics: Introduction and Overview

Published on Jan 11, 2019

An introductory lecture for MIT course 6.S094 on the basics of deep learning including a few key ideas, subfields, and the big picture of why neural networks have inspired and energized an entire new generation of researchers. For more lecture videos on deep learning, reinforcement learning (RL), artificial intelligence (AI & AGI), and podcast conversations, visit our website or follow TensorFlow code tutorials on our GitHub repo.

MIT 6.S094: Introduction to Deep Learning and Self-Driving Cars

Google’s Deep Mind Explained! – Self Learning A.I.

Artificial Intelligence: Mankind’s Last Invention

Top 10 Computer Science Schools in the World

Coders: The Making of a New Art and the Remaking of the World

Clive Thompson. Penguin Press, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2056-0

In this revealing exploration of programming, programmers, and their far-reaching influence, Wired columnist Thompson (Smarter Than You Think) opens up an insular world and explores its design philosophy’s consequences, some of them unintended. Through interviews and anecdotes, Thompson expertly plumbs the temperament and motivations of programmers. Thompson explains how an avowedly meritocratic profession nevertheless tends to sideline those who are not white male graduates of prestigious university computer science programs, tracing this male-dominated culture back to 1960s and early ’70s MIT, where the “hacker ethic” was first born. Remarkably, though, he makes clear that programming is an unusual field in that successful practitioners are often self-taught, many having started out with only simple tools, such as a Commodore computer running the BASIC programming language. This book contains possibly the best argument yet for how social media maneuvers users into more extreme political positions, since “any ranking system based partly on tallying up the reactions to posts will wind up favoring intense material.” Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2018
Release date: 03/26/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook – 978-0-7352-2057-7
Paperback – 448 pages – 978-0-7352-2058-4

 

 

KIRKUS REVIEW

Of computer technology and its discontents.

Computers can do all kinds of cool things. The reason they can, writes tech journalist Thompson (Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, 2013), is that a coder has gotten to the problem. “Programmers spend their days trying to get computers to do new things,” he writes, “so they’re often very good at understanding the crazy what-ifs that computers make possible.” Some of those things, of course, have proven noxious: Facebook allows you to keep in touch with high school friends but at the expense of spying on your every online movement. Yet they’re kind of comprehensible, since they’re based on language: Coding problems are problems of words and thoughts and not numbers alone. Thompson looks at some of the stalwarts and heroes of the coding world, many of them not well-known—Ruchi Sanghvi, for example, who worked at Facebook and Dropbox before starting a sort of think tank “aimed at convincing members to pick a truly new, weird area to examine.” If you want weird these days, you get into artificial intelligence, of which the author has a qualified view. Humans may be displaced by machines, but the vaunted singularity probably won’t happen anytime soon. Probably. Thompson is an enthusiast and a learned scholar alike: He reckons that BASIC is one of the great inventions of history, being one of the ways “for teenagers to grasp, in such visceral and palpable ways, the fabric of infinity.” Though big tech is in the ascendant, he writes, there’s a growing number of young programmers who are attuned to the ethical issues surrounding what they do, demanding, for instance, that Microsoft not provide software to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Those coders, writes Thompson, are “the one group of people VCs and CEOs cannot afford to entirely ignore,” making them the heroes of the piece in more ways than one.

Fans of Markoff, Levy, Lanier et al. will want to have a look at this intriguing portrait of coding and coders.

About this book

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/clive-thompson/coders/

Book Summary

To understand the world today, we need to understand code and its consequences. With Coders, Thompson gives a definitive look into the heart of the machine.

Hello, world.

Facebook’s algorithms shaping the news. Self-driving cars roaming the streets. Revolution on Twitter and romance on Tinder. We live in a world constructed of code – and coders are the ones who built it for us. From acclaimed tech writer Clive Thompson comes a brilliant anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers, in a book that interrogates who they are, how they think, what qualifies as greatness in their world, and what should give us pause. They are the most quietly influential people on the planet, and Coders shines a light on their culture.

In pop culture and media, the people who create the code that rules our world are regularly portrayed in hackneyed, simplified terms, as ciphers in hoodies. Thompson goes far deeper, dramatizing the psychology of the invisible architects of the culture, exploring their passions and their values, as well as their messy history. In nuanced portraits, Coders takes us close to some of the great programmers of our time, including the creators of Facebook’s News Feed, Instagram, Google’s cutting-edge AI, and more. Speaking to everyone from revered “10X” elites to neophytes, back-end engineers and front-end designers, Thompson explores the distinctive psychology of this vocation – which combines a love of logic, an obsession with efficiency, the joy of puzzle-solving, and a superhuman tolerance for mind-bending frustration.

Along the way, Coders thoughtfully ponders the morality and politics of code, including its implications for civic life and the economy. Programmers shape our everyday behavior: When they make something easy to do, we do more of it. When they make it hard or impossible, we do less of it. Thompson wrestles with the major controversies of our era, from the “disruption” fetish of Silicon Valley to the struggle for inclusion by marginalized groups.

In his accessible, erudite style, Thompson unpacks the surprising history of the field, beginning with the first coders – brilliant and pioneering women, who, despite crafting some of the earliest personal computers and programming languages, were later written out of history. Coders introduces modern crypto-hackers fighting for your privacy, AI engineers building eerie new forms of machine cognition, teenage girls losing sleep at 24/7 hackathons, and unemployed Kentucky coal-miners learning a new career.

At the same time, the book deftly illustrates how programming has become a marvelous new art form – a source of delight and creativity, not merely danger. To get as close to his subject as possible, Thompson picks up the thread of his own long-abandoned coding skills as he reckons, in his signature, highly personal style, with what superb programming looks like.

https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/13867/coders

Praise

“Fascinating. Thompson is an excellent writer and his subjects are themselves gripping. . . . [W]hat Thompson does differently is to get really close to the people he writes about: it’s the narrative equivalent of Technicolor, 3D and the microscope. . . . People who interact with coders routinely, as colleagues, friends or family, could benefit tremendously from these insights.” —Nature

“With an anthropologist’s eye, [Thompson] outlines [coders’] different personality traits, their history and cultural touchstones. He explores how they live, what motivates them and what they fight about. By breaking down what the actual world of coding looks like . . . he removes the mystery and brings it into the legible world for the rest of us to debate. Human beings and their foibles are the reason the internet is how it is—for better and often, as this book shows, for worse.” —TheNew York Times Book Review

“An outstanding author and long-form journalist. . . . I particularly enjoyed [Thompson’s] section on automation.” —Tim Ferriss

“[An] enjoyable primer on the world of computer programmers. . . . Coders are building the infrastructure on which twenty-first century society rests, and their work has every chance of surviving as long, and being as important, as the Brooklyn Bridge—or, for that matter, the Constitution.” —Bookforum

“Thompson delivers again with this well-written narrative on coders, individual histories, and the culture of coder life, at home and work. . . . In addition to analyzing the work-life of coders, he brilliantly reveals several examples of how they live in their respective relationships. Throughout, Thompson also does a great job exploring the various drivers that permeate the industry: merit, openness of code, long coding stints without sleep, and how the culture tends toward start-up culture even when companies are established. This engaging work will appeal to readers who wish to learn more about the intersection of technology and culture, and the space in which they blur together.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Thompson offers a broad cultural view of the world of coders and programmers from the field’s origins in the mid-twentieth century to the present. In this highly readable and entertaining narrative, he notes the sense of scale and logical efficiency in coding and the enthusiasm with which programmers go about creating new features and finding bugs. . . . [A] comprehensive look at the people behind the digital systems now essential to everyday life.”—Booklist

“Looks at some of the stalwarts and heroes of the coding world, many of them not well-known. . . . Thompson is an enthusiast and a learned scholar alike. . . . Fans of Markoff, Levy, Lanier, et al. will want to have a look at this intriguing portrait of coding and coders.” —Kirkus

“In this revealing exploration of programming, programmers, and their far-reaching influence, Wired columnist Thompson opens up an insular world and explores its design philosophy’s consequences, some of them unintended. Through interviews and anecdotes, Thompson expertly plumbs the temperament and motivations of programmers. . . . [Coders] contains possibly the best argument yet for how social media maneuvers users into more extreme political positions. . . . Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“As a person who has spent a lot of time writing code, I can confirm that you need to be a little bit of a weirdo to love it. Clive Thompson’s book is an essential field guide to the eccentric breed of architects who are building the algorithms that shape our future, and the AIs who will eventually rise up and enslave us. Good luck, humans!” —Jonathan Coulton, musician

“Clive Thompson is more than a gifted reporter and writer. He is a brilliant social anthropologist. And, in this masterful book, he illuminates both the fascinating coders and the bewildering technological forces that are transforming the world in which we live.” —David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon

“With his trademark clarity and insight, Clive Thompson gives us an unparalleled vista into the mind-set and culture of programmers, the often-invisible architects and legislators of the digital age.”  —Steven Johnson, author of How We Got to Now

“If you have to work with programmers, it’s essential to understand that programming has a culture. This book will help you understand what programmers do, how they do it, and why. It decodes the culture of code.” —Kevin Kelly, senior maverick for Wired

“Clive Thompson is the ideal guide to who coders are, what they do, and how they wound up taking over the world. For a book this important, inspiring, and scary, it’s sinfully fun to read.” —Steven Levy, author of In the Plex

“It’s a delight to follow Clive Thompson’s roving, rollicking mind anywhere. When that ‘anywhere’ is the realm of the programmers, the pleasure takes on extra ballast. Coders is an engrossing, deeply clued-in ethnography, and it’s also a book about power, a new kind: where it comes from, how it feels to wield it, who gets to try—and how all that is changing.”  —Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

“Clive Thompson has deftly picked apart the myth of a tech meritocracy. Guiding readers through the undercovered history of programming’s female roots, Coders points with assurance to the inequities that have come to define coding today, as both a profession and the basis of the technology that shapes our lives. Readable, revealing, and in many ways infuriating.”  —Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad

“Code shapes coders, and coders shape the code that changes how we think, every day of our lives. If you want to create a more humanistic digital world, read this book to get started.” —Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT; author of Reclaiming Conversation and Alone Together

“Thompson has accomplished the nearly impossible task of portraying the coding world exactly as it is: messy, inspiring, naive, and—at times—shameful. Coders is a beautifully written and refreshingly fair portrayal of a young industry that’s accomplished so much and still has a lot to learn.” —Saron Yitbarek, CEO and founder of CodeNewbie

Coding Has Become Pop Culture

Exactly what I did not want to become …

But programming has not. And let me dive right into it.

Fifteen years ago when people suggested I should become a programmer because of my introverted and shy personality, analytical mind and complete lack of social life, I laughed and shamelessly flipped them off. But I was a teenager, and in my teenage mind a programmer lived forever with their parents, in the basement, with pimples and large ugly glasses, has never had a girlfriend but plenty of wet dreams about princess Leia. Repeatedly. And that image did not sit well with me. Plus, I actually had a girlfriend, and a hot one at that.

Forward six years, and I was in Budapest airport casually reading a book about HTML…

Add another 6 years and I landed my first full-stack web developer job at a Northern Irish startup. Yes, I took my time, I guess. But how much time? I don’t quite know to be honest. But it was a lot. Was it the mythical 10.000 hours? No. If I would have to make a rough estimation, I would say, to date I have “coded” about 8000 hours. Technically, according to the 10.000 hour rule, in 2000 hours worth of “coding”, I shall be an expert in my field.

Or will I?

Here’s what I have done in those 8000 hours. Grab a seat, as this is going to be long and hard to follow. I have written code in the following languages: C, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java (Android), Swift, PHP, Ruby, Python, Chuck, SQL to work with the following frameworks: Node, Angular, Bootstrap, Foundation, React, Rails, CodeIgniter, Ionic while building landing pages, websites, WordPress sites, eCommerce solutions, eLearning content, Moodle sites, Totara sites, Mahara sites, Common Cartridge packages, SCORM packages, Android apps, iOS apps, hybrid apps, in-house web applications, eBooks, magazines, games, and board-game companion apps. So what am I getting at?

Well, what I am trying to say is that there is no field, therefore becoming an expert in it, becomes unattainable. Coding is not a field. Computer Science is, but that’s an entirely different slice of cheese.

Coding is what presidents, educators, parents and employers and companies herd the young generations into, like cattle onto the holy grail of golden fields of opportunity.

The promise is a dream, the propaganda is well-crafted and simple-worded, heck it’s not even worded any more, it’s dumbed down to simple images for them lovely wee “rugrats” who definitely must learn logical thinking before learning how to feed themselves — please note the sarcasm.

Just 15 years later, coding has become the “pop-culturized” version of programming and what everybody now hopes will be the future army of coders upon which we shall build our AI controlled home, traffic, retail, entertainment, medical, industrial, sexual, illusional and delusional revolution, will turn out to be an absolute shit-show — and there truly is no better word for that. And all this, because programming is being sold as “coding” and “coding” is supposedly easy. Couldn’t be further away from the truth…

So here’s the fine-print. The “factualised” myth that anyone can learn a programming language in mere hours is only true up to a point and that point happens to be very early on in the learning process. Indeed, a and any programming language can be learnt in a single day. In fact if one’s goal is to become a programming polyglot in a month (while having a job), 8–10 languages can be learnt by studying during the weekends. But here’s the catch. Every programming language has its libraries and, its syntactic sugar and personality, and none of that can really be learnt quickly or easily or in a weekend. In fact, in the real world, every programming language becomes the least of your problems.

Just because you speak English, it doesn’t mean you’re good at writing novels, or even short stories. Same goes for coding.

Just because you’ve learnt the language, does not mean you know how to program. Add to that the myriad of frameworks, plugins, libraries, pre-processors, post-processors, coding standards, industry standards, TDD, BDD, content management systems, file versioning, CI, deployment and release management, debugging, ticketing, waterfall, agile, scrum and their combination thereof… and I am not even sure I’ve touched on everything. The point is, being a “coder” involves more or less all of the above. And programming itself is just a tiny tiny part of it. A crucial part, but nevertheless, tiny.

Yet programming is still continuously being dumbed-down …

Apple launched Playgrounds, MIT launched Scratch, Lego is launching Boost, all in an attempt to sell “coding” to younger and younger age-groups as if that will fill the quota of millions of new programmers by 202x.

The message is pretty much “don’t worry about the code, take these virtual puzzle pieces and off you go, you can program”. If only that were true. Here’s the thing about programming. It’s text-based. Has been, and will be for many more years to come. Kids who play with Lego Boost, Playgrounds or Scratch won’t be better programmers by the age of 22 than those who started learning programming at 16 and did it in an actual programming language. In fact, why should they be? I would not expect my child to be a bread-earning individual until the age of 22. Learn “coding” for 6 years, and I guarantee she/he will land a job in no-time.

GUI has also nothing to do with the real programming world, and logical thinking can be transferred to a kid in many other ways. When was the last time you saw a kid do a 1000 piece puzzle on the dining-room table? Exactly…

Kids are by default very logical human beings, in fact that’s how they learn how the world works.

They learn the value of the if-else-statement the first day they’re born. “If I cry, mum will make it stop, else I keep crying until dad shows up (who will probably make everything 10 times worse, but heck, I’m gonna t(c)ry anyway…).” Kids are very logical, hence their often brutal sincerity. You call it innocence, they call it a black-and-white world. There are no multiple switch statements yet. There are no shades of grey. That comes later. Both literally and literarily (in 3 volumes no less…). 😉 Bottom line, they are more than equipped with logical thinking, but put them in front of the TV, or hand them a tablet for 6 hours a day, and all that is going to become a pile of corrupted values as often there is very little thinking involved.

“Coding” is not a musical art, a piano or a violin that a child might need to develop muscle-memory for. It’s engineering.

What programming requires is analytical thinking, problem-solving attitude, stamina for failed attempts at coming up with the right solution, passion for technology, pride in your own code, but maturely accepting someone else’s improvements and observations, and a sense of responsibility for any code you write or contribute to.

Correct me if I am wrong, but none of these traits are easy to cultivate and develop. Certainly not at the age of 5! Yet, nobody seems to sell “coding” as it really is — a fun but difficult journey of discovery, success and failure and all that “da capo”, all year, every year.

Just because “coding” sounds cool, it does not mean it’s not the same ole’ hard-core programming. If anything, it’s even more so today than 15 years ago. Except we now all wear skinny jeans, walk around with even skinnier laptops, moved out of the basement and with all the “fill the gender-gap” hype, we might even end up with decent looking girlfriends.

P.S. Some things don’t change. The ugly glasses stayed. But they’re trendy now, so it’s all good. 😉

https://hackernoon.com/coding-has-become-a-pop-culture-939100f84b0c

The ugly underbelly of coder culture

Today’s developers are overwhelmingly young and male, and they’re barring the door from a more diverse workforce

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Bill Bonner — Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads To Disaster — Videos

Posted on July 13, 2019. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health, history, History of Economic Thought, Immigration, Investments, Journalism, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, Narcissism, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Plays, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Reviews, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Trade, Trade Policiy, Transportation, Wealth, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Why Public Policy Always Ends in Disaster

It’s Hormeggedon! What Happens When Public Policy Passes the Point of No Return

Bill Bonner Interview: hold on to your cash, the real financial crisis is yet to come

Bill Bonner on the financial markets WORLD.MINDS INTERVIEW

How to Profit from the Death of Retail. Guest Bill Bonner.

Bill Bonner (author)

 MoneyWeek magazine,[2] and his daily financial column Bill Bonner’s Diary.[3]

Contents

Biography

Bonner was born in 1948.[4] He attended the University of New Mexico and Georgetown University Law School, and he began work with Jim Davidson, at the National Taxpayers Union.[citation needed]

Bonner was a director of MoneyWeek from 2003 to 2009.[4]

Works

Bonner co-authored Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving The Soft Depression of The 21st Century and Empire of Debt with Addison Wiggin. He also co-authored Mobs, Messiahs and Marketswith Lila Rajiva. The latter publication won the GetAbstract International Book Award for 2008.[5] He has previously co-authored two short pamphlets with British media historian, John Campbell, and with The Times former editor, Lord William Rees-Mogg, and has co-edited a book of essays with intellectual historian, Pierre Lemieux.[6]

In his two financial books, as well as in The Daily Reckoning, Bonner has argued that the financial future of the United States is in peril because of various economic and demographic trends, not the least of which is America’s large trade deficit. He claims that America’s foreign policy exploits are tantamount to the establishment of an empire, and that the cost of maintaining such an empire could accelerate America’s eventual decline. Bonner argues in his latest book that mob and mass delusions are part of the human condition.[citation needed]

Bonner warned in 2015 that the credit system, which has been the essential basis of the US economy since the 1950s, will inevitably fail, leading to catastrophic failure of the banking system.[7][8]

In June 2016, Bill Bonner, via his company Agora, paid for an advertisement on Reuters describing a new law that would not allow Americans to take money out of their own USA accounts. The ad reads: “New Law Cracks Down on Right to Use Cash. Americans are reporting problems taking their own money out of US banks.” The advertisement does not cite the law (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA[9]) to which it refers.

References

  1. ^ “Bill Bonner, Author at LewRockwell LewRockwell.com”.
  2. ^ https://moneyweek.com/author/bill-bonner/
  3. ^ Bill Bonner’s Diary
  4. Jump up to:a bhttps://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04016750/officers
  5. ^ “getAbstract International Book Award”.
  6. ^ Bonner, Bill; Lemieux, Pierre (2003). The Idea of America. Agora Health Books. ISBN 1891434136.
  7. ^ “Bill Bonner: hold on to your cash, the real financial crisis is yet to come”. MoneyWeek. March 3, 2015.
  8. ^ Wiggins, Addison (June 29, 2015). “When Genius Fails Again”. Forbes. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Sahadi, Jeanne (June 4, 2015). “You’ve never seen IRS penalties like these”CNNMoney. Retrieved 2016-08-01.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Bonner_(author)

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G.K. Noyer — Voltaire’s Revolution — Videos

Posted on March 13, 2019. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Catholic Church, College, Communications, Culture, Education, Enlightenment, European History, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health, Heroes, history, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Literacy, Love, media, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Religious, Religious, Reviews, Security, Speech, Torture, Unemployment, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

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Voltaire’s Revolution

Voltaire, the pen name of François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), was one of the most influential leaders of the French Enlightenment. His defense of individual freedom of conscience and his criticisms of religious fanaticism and oppressive orthodoxy had a telling effect on Western history, inspiring several leading founders of America’s new laws.

This is the first English translation of many of his key texts from his famous pamphlet war for tolerance, written from 1750 to 1768, originally published under pseudonyms to avoid imprisonment and to educate the average citizen. Included are “The Sermon of Rabbi Akib” (a searing attack on anti-Semitism),  “Prayer to God” (from the famous Treatise on Tolerance), the hugely popular “Catechism of the Honest Man,” “The Dinner at Count Boulainvillier’s,” and other witty, sometimes acerbic pieces that point out the errors in the Bible, the corruption of the clergy, and the religiously-inspired persecutions, both of his day and across the ages. Many of these pamphlets were burned in a losing battle by the authorities.

With a lengthy introduction and copious notes by the editor and translator, plus an appendix including first-hand accounts of the battle by noted mathematician and French revolutionary Condorcet, Frederick the Great, Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith, and others, this excellent compilation will be a welcome addition to the libraries of anyone with an interest in human rights and freedom of thought.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/voltaires-revolution/fgqpf3h0d0nr?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab

 

G.K. Noyer

GOODREADS AUTHOR

 

Born  suburb of Detroit, The United States

 

Influences Voltaire, Norman Torrey, René Pomeau, Theodore Besterman, Haydn Mason, …more

 

Member Since December 2010

A writer from Michigan, where she wrote for a PBS affiliate and radio, GK Noyer lives in France (not because of Voltaire, but it helped the research). Predominantly a TV scriptwriter and translator for years, this is her first book, and the 20+ years of research it reflects was first undertaken in view of writing a screenplay on Voltaire. A few years back, the discovery of the near disappearance of the Enlightenment from our schoolbooks along with the increasing polarization over religion then suggested that this book might be a better place to start. Here are a couple of reviews that offer more details: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/boo…
and http://www.factsandarts.com/essays/g-…More links and info are available on the GK Noyer Fac…more

Voltaire Biography

voltaireVoltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) was a French writer, essayist, and philosopher – he was known for his wit, satire, and defence of civil liberties. He sought to defend freedom of religious and political thought and played a major role in the Enlightenment period of the eighteenth century.

“Love truth, but pardon error.”

– Voltaire

Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing more than 20,000 letters and over 2,000 books and pamphlets. Despite strict censorship laws, he frequently risked large penalties by breaking them and questioning the establishment.

Short Biography of Voltaire

voltaire

Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet, in Paris. He was educated by Jesuits at the Collège Louis-le-Grand (1704–1711), becoming fluent in Greek, Latin and the major European languages.

His father tried to encourage Voltaire to become a lawyer, but Voltaire was more interested in becoming a writer. Instead of studying to be a lawyer, he began writing poetry and mild criticisms of the church and state. His humorous, satirical writing made him popular with sections of Paris society, though they also started attracting the attention of the censors.

In 1726, he was exiled to England after being involved in a scuffle with a French nobleman. The nobleman used his wealth to have him arrested, and this would cause Voltaire to try and reform the French judicial system. After this first imprisonment in the Bastilles, he changed his name to Voltaire – signifying his departure from his past. He also used numerous other pen names throughout the course of his life, in a bid to escape censorship.

Voltaire spent three years in England, where he was influenced by British writers, such as William Shakespeare and also the different political system, which saw a constitutional monarchy rather than an absolute monarchy as in France. He also learnt from great scientists, such as Sir Isaac Newton. Voltaire was particularly impressed by the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, such as Adam Smith and David Hume, saying once:

“We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation”

Although he had much in common with fellow French Enlightenment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, the pair often disagreed and had a prickly relationship. However, after Rousseau wrote Emile / Vicaire Savoyard, Voltaire offered Rousseau a safe haven because he appreciated Rousseau’s attack on religious hypocrisy. Rousseau regretted not replying to Voltaire’s offer.

On returning to France, he wrote letters praising the British system of government and their greater respect for freedom of speech. This enraged the French establishment, and again he was forced to flee Paris.

Seeking a safe place, Voltaire began a collaboration with Marquise du Chatelet. During this time, Voltaire wrote on Newton’s scientific theories and helped to make Newton’s ideas accessible to a much wider section of European society. He also began attacking the church’s relationship with the state. Voltaire argued for the separation of religion and state and also allowing freedom of belief and religious tolerance. Voltaire had a mixed opinion of the Bible and was willing to criticise it. Though not professing a religion, he believed in God, as a matter of reason.

“What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason.” On Catholicism

In a letter to Frederick II, King of Prussia, (5 January 1767) he once wrote:

“Ours [religion] is without a doubt the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and the most blood-thirsty ever to infect the world.”

In 1744, Voltaire returned to Paris, where he began a relationship with his niece, Marie Louise Mignot. They remained together until his death.

For a brief time, he was invited by Frederick the Great, to Potsdam. Here, Voltaire wrote more articles of a scientific nature, but later incurred the displeasure of the king as he started satirising the abuses of power within the state.

In 1759, he wrote his best-known work – Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism) This was a satire on the philosophy of Leibniz. After a brief stay in Geneva, he settled for 20 years in Ferny on the French border.

In his later life, Voltaire continued to write and also to support persecuted religious minorities. He was visited by some of the leading European intellectuals of the day – such as James Boswell and Adam Smith.

In 1778, he died after shortly returning to Paris. Some of his enemies claimed he made a deathbed conversion to Catholicism, but this is disputed.

In February of that year, fearing he would die, he wrote:

“I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.”

Voltaire was secretly buried before a pronouncement could be made public.

Three years after his death, on 11 July 1791, he was brought back to Paris to be enshrined in the Pantheon. It is said up to a million people came to see Voltaire – now considered a French hero and fore-runner of the French revolution.

Influence of Voltaire

  • Voltaire revolutionised the art of history. He sought to avoid bias and included discussion of social and economic issues, moving away from dry military accounts.
  • Voltaire argued for an extension of education, hoping greater literacy would free society from ignorance.
  • Voltaire wrote poems and plays, including two epics. Voltaire politicised writing by showing that even poetry and romance could be laced with satire and political polemic. Often it was indirect criticism that was most effective.
  • Voltaire was a passionate and persistent critic of those in power who misused their position. By attacking the abuses of the absolute monarchy and church, he paved the way for a less deferential attitude which was a significant underlying cause of the French revolution.
  • At a time of religious persecution, Voltaire illustrated how religious dogmas were created by human ignorance and led to needless bloodshed and suffering.
  • Voltaire was a key figure of the enlightenment which sought to use a range of scientific and literary books to explain the underlying nature of life. Voltaire believed no one book or dogma could explain everything. But, true understanding required the use of reason and an open mind.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Voltaire”, Oxford, www.biographyonline.net – 3 February 2013. Last updated 7 February 2018.

Voltaire Quotes

“It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?”

– Voltaire A Treatise on Toleration (1763)

https://www.biographyonline.net/writers/voltaire.html

Voltaire’s Revolution 2mn

LITERATURE – Voltaire

Voltaire on Religion (Philosophical Dictionary / French Enlightenment)

Who was Voltaire? A history of Voltaire

Will Durant—The Philosophy of Voltaire

What Was the Enlightenment? AP Euro Bit by Bit #25

Jordan Peterson – Reconciling Science and Religion

Jordan Peterson (June 01, 2018) – Enlightenment now Steven Pinker

“One of the impediments to enlightenment is attachment” Jordan Peterson

“The worst snake of all is malevolence” Jordan Peterson on the snake within

 

PRAISE

“An essential book for Anglophones studying Voltaire, philosophy, and the separation of religion from government.”

Portland Book Review

“I count myself as a Voltaire enthusiast but had never bothered to unearth some of these gems… No other book offers such a lively collection of Voltairian prose in so few pages.”

Facts & Arts

“It would be nice to think Voltaire’s Revolution will add to the ranks of the admirers. If this much wit and brilliance (all very adroitly translated) can’t manage that, probably nothing can.”

Open Letters Monthly

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Voltaire

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Voltaire
Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1724

Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1724
Born François-Marie Arouet
21 November 1694
ParisKingdom of France
Died 30 May 1778 (aged 83)
Paris, Kingdom of France
Resting place Panthéon, Paris, France
Occupation Writer, philosopher
Language French
Nationality French
Alma mater Collège Louis-le-Grand
Partner Émilie du Châtelet (1733–1749)

Philosophy career

Era Age of Enlightenment
Region Western philosophy
French philosophy
School Lumières
Philosophes
Deism
Classical liberalism
Main interests
Political philosophyliteraturehistoriographybiblical criticism
Notable ideas
Philosophy of history,[1] freedom of religionfreedom of speechseparation of church and state

François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃swa maʁi aʁwɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (/vɒlˈtɛər/;[2]French: [vɔltɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religionfreedom of speech, and separation of church and state.

Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets.[3] He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day.

Biography

François-Marie Arouet was born in Paris, the youngest of the five children of François Arouet (19 August 1649 – 1 January 1722), a lawyer who was a minor treasury official, and his wife, Marie Marguerite Daumard (c. 1660 – 13 July 1701), whose family was on the lowest rank of the French nobility.[4] Some speculation surrounds Voltaire’s date of birth, because he claimed he was born on 20 February 1694 as the illegitimate son of a nobleman, Guérin de Rochebrune or Roquebrune.[5] Two of his older brothers—Armand-François and Robert—died in infancy, and his surviving brother Armand and sister Marguerite-Catherine were nine and seven years older, respectively.[6] Nicknamed “Zozo” by his family, Voltaire was baptized on 22 November 1694, with François de Castagnère, abbé de Châteauneuf [fr], and Marie Daumard, the wife of his mother’s cousin, standing as godparents.[7] He was educated by the Jesuits at the Collège Louis-le-Grand(1704–1711), where he was taught Latin, theology, and rhetoric;[8] later in life he became fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English.[9]

By the time he left school, Voltaire had decided he wanted to be a writer, against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer.[10] Voltaire, pretending to work in Paris as an assistant to a notary, spent much of his time writing poetry. When his father found out, he sent Voltaire to study law, this time in CaenNormandy. But the young man continued to write, producing essays and historical studies. Voltaire’s wit made him popular among some of the aristocratic families with whom he mixed. In 1713, his father obtained a job for him as a secretary to the new French ambassador in the Netherlands, the marquis de Châteauneuf [fr], the brother of Voltaire’s godfather.[11] At The Hague, Voltaire fell in love with a French Protestant refugee named Catherine Olympe Dunoyer (known as ‘Pimpette’).[11] Their affair, considered scandalous, was discovered by de Châteauneuf and Voltaire was forced to return to France by the end of the year.[12]

Voltaire was imprisoned in the Bastille from 16 May 1717 to 15 April 1718 in a windowless cell with ten-foot-thick walls.[13]

Most of Voltaire’s early life revolved around Paris. From early on, Voltaire had trouble with the authorities for critiques of the government. As a result, he was twice sentenced to prison and once to temporary exile to England. One satirical verse, in which Voltaire accused the Régent of incest with his daughter, resulted in an eleven-month imprisonment in the Bastille.[14] The Comédie-Française had agreed in January 1717 to stage his debut play, Œdipe, and it opened in mid-November 1718, seven months after his release.[15] Its immediate critical and financial success established his reputation.[16] Both the Régent and King George I of Great Britain presented Voltaire with medals as a mark of their appreciation.[17]

He mainly argued for religious tolerance and freedom of thought. He campaigned to eradicate priestly and aristo-monarchical authority, and supported a constitutional monarchy that protects people’s rights.[18][19]

Name

The author adopted the name Voltaire in 1718, following his incarceration at the Bastille. Its origin is unclear. It is an anagram of AROVET LI, the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of le jeune (“the young”).[20] According to a family tradition among the descendants of his sister, he was known as le petit volontaire (“determined little thing”) as a child, and he resurrected a variant of the name in his adult life.[21] The name also reverses the syllables of Airvault, his family’s home town in the Poitou region.[22]

Richard Holmes[23] supports the anagrammatic derivation of the name, but adds that a writer such as Voltaire would have intended it to also convey connotations of speed and daring. These come from associations with words such as voltige (acrobatics on a trapeze or horse), volte-face (a spinning about to face one’s enemies), and volatile (originally, any winged creature). “Arouet” was not a noble name fit for his growing reputation, especially given that name’s resonance with à rouer (“to be beaten up”) and roué (a débauché).

In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Rousseau in March 1719, Voltaire concludes by asking that, if Rousseau wishes to send him a return letter, he do so by addressing it to Monsieur de Voltaire. A postscript explains: “J’ai été si malheureux sous le nom d’Arouet que j’en ai pris un autre surtout pour n’être plus confondu avec le poète Roi“, (“I was so unhappy under the name of Arouet that I have taken another, primarily so as to cease to be confused with the poet Roi.”)[24] This probably refers to Adenes le Roi, and the ‘oi’ diphthong was then pronounced like modern ‘ouai’, so the similarity to ‘Arouet’ is clear, and thus, it could well have been part of his rationale. Voltaire is known also to have used at least 178 separate pen names during his lifetime.[25]

Early fiction

Voltaire’s next play, Artémire, set in ancient Macedonia, opened on 15 February 1720. It was a flop and only fragments of the text survive.[26] He instead turned to an epic poem about Henry IV of France that he had begun in early 1717.[27] Denied a licence to publish, in August 1722 Voltaire headed north to find a publisher outside France. On the journey, he was accompanied by his mistress, Marie-Marguerite de Rupelmonde, a young widow.[28]

At Brussels, Voltaire and Rousseau met up for a few days, before Voltaire and his mistress continued northwards. A publisher was eventually secured in The Hague.[29] In the Netherlands, Voltaire was struck and impressed by the openness and tolerance of Dutch society.[30] On his return to France, he secured a second publisher in Rouen, who agreed to publish La Henriadeclandestinely.[31] After Voltaire’s recovery from a month-long smallpox infection in November 1723, the first copies were smuggled into Paris and distributed.[32] While the poem was an instant success, Voltaire’s new play, Mariamne, was a failure when it first opened in March 1724.[33] Heavily reworked, it opened at the Comédie-Française in April 1725 to a much-improved reception.[33] It was among the entertainments provided at the wedding of Louis XV and Marie Leszczyńska in September 1725.[33]

Great Britain

In early 1726, a young French nobleman, the chevalier de Rohan-Chabot, taunted Voltaire about his change of name, and Voltaire retorted that his name would be honored while de Rohan would dishonor his.[34] Infuriated, de Rohan arranged for Voltaire to be beaten up by thugs a few days later.[35] Seeking compensation, redress, or revenge, Voltaire challenged de Rohan to a duel, but the aristocratic de Rohan family arranged for Voltaire to be arrested and imprisoned in the Bastille on 17 April 1726 without a trial or an opportunity to defend himself.[36][37] Fearing an indefinite prison sentence, Voltaire suggested that he be exiled to England as an alternative punishment, which the French authorities accepted.[38] On 2 May, he was escorted from the Bastille to Calais, where he was to embark for Britain.[39]

Elémens de la philosophie de Neuton, 1738

In England, Voltaire lived largely in Wandsworth, with acquaintances including Everard Fawkener.[40] From December 1727 to June 1728 he lodged at Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, now commemorated by a plaque, to be nearer to his British publisher.[41] Voltaire circulated throughout English high society, meeting Alexander PopeJohn GayJonathan SwiftLady Mary Wortley MontaguSarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and many other members of the nobility and royalty.[42] Voltaire’s exile in Great Britain greatly influenced his thinking. He was intrigued by Britain’s constitutional monarchy in contrast to French absolutism, and by the country’s greater support of the freedoms of speech and religion.[43] He was influenced by the writers of the age, and developed an interest in earlier English literature, especially the works of Shakespeare, still relatively unknown in continental Europe.[44] Despite pointing out his deviations from neoclassical standards, Voltaire saw Shakespeare as an example that French writers might emulate, since French drama, despite being more polished, lacked on-stage action. Later, however, as Shakespeare’s influence began growing in France, Voltaire tried to set a contrary example with his own plays, decrying what he considered Shakespeare’s barbarities. Voltaire may have been present at the funeral of Isaac Newton,[a]and met Newton’s niece, Catherine Conduitt.[41] In 1727, he published two essays in English, Upon the Civil Wars of France, Extracted from Curious Manuscripts and Upon Epic Poetry of the European Nations, from Homer Down to Milton.[41]

After two and a half years in exile, Voltaire returned to France, and after a few months living in Dieppe, the authorities permitted him to return to Paris.[45]At a dinner, French mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine proposed buying up the lottery that was organized by the French government to pay off its debts, and Voltaire joined the consortium, earning perhaps a million livres.[46] He invested the money cleverly and on this basis managed to convince the Court of Finances that he was of good conduct and so was able to take control of a capital inheritance from his father that had hitherto been tied up in trust. He was now indisputably rich.[47][48]

Further success followed, in 1732, with his play Zaïre, which when published in 1733 carried a dedication to Fawkener that praised English liberty and commerce.[49] At this time he published his views on British attitudes toward government, literature, religion and science in a collection of essays in letter form entitled Letters Concerning the English Nation (London, 1733).[50] In 1734, they were published in French as Lettres philosophiques in Rouen.[51][b] Because the publisher released the book without the approval of the royal censor and Voltaire regarded the British constitutional monarchy as more developed and more respectful of human rights (particularly religious tolerance) than its French counterpart, the French publication of Letters caused a huge scandal; the book was publicly burnt and banned, and Voltaire was forced again to flee Paris.[18]

Château de Cirey

In the frontispiece to Voltaire’s book on Newton’s philosophy, Émilie du Châteletappears as Voltaire’s muse, reflecting Newton’s heavenly insights down to Voltaire.[52]

In 1733, Voltaire met Émilie du Châtelet, a mathematician and married mother of three who was 12 years his junior and with whom he was to have an affair for 16 years.[53] To avoid arrest after the publication of Letters, Voltaire took refuge at her husband’s château at Cirey-sur-Blaise, on the borders of Champagne and Lorraine.[54] Voltaire paid for the building’s renovation,[55] and Émilie’s husband, the Marquis du Châtelet, sometimes stayed at the château with his wife and her lover.[56] The relationship had a significant intellectual element. Voltaire and the Marquise du Châtelet collected around 21,000 books, an enormous number for the time.[57] Together, they studied these books and performed experiments in the natural sciences at Cirey, which included an attempt to determine the nature of fire.[58]

Having learned from his previous brushes with the authorities, Voltaire began his habit of keeping out of personal harm’s way and denying any awkward responsibility.[59] He continued to write plays, such as Mérope (or La Mérope française) and began his long research into science and history. Again, a main source of inspiration for Voltaire were the years of his British exile, during which he had been strongly influenced by the works of Sir Isaac Newton. Voltaire strongly believed in Newton’s theories; he performed experiments in optics at Cirey,[60] and was one of the sources for the famous story of Newton and the apple falling from the tree, which he had learned from Newton’s niece in London and first mentioned in his Letters.[41]

Pastel by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1735

In the fall of 1735, Voltaire was visited by Francesco Algarotti, who was preparing a book about Newton in Italian.[61] Partly inspired by the visit, the Marquise translated Newton’s Latin Principia into French in full, and it remained the definitive French translation into the 21st century.[18] Both she and Voltaire were also curious about the philosophies of Gottfried Leibniz, a contemporary and rival of Newton. While Voltaire remained a firm Newtonian, the Marquise adopted certain aspects of Leibniz’s arguments against Newton.[18][62] Voltaire’s own book Elements of Newton’s Philosophy made Newton accessible and understandable to a far greater public, and the Marquise wrote a celebratory review in the Journal des savants.[18][63] Voltaire’s work was instrumental in bringing about general acceptance of Newton’s optical and gravitational theories in France.[18][64]

Voltaire and the Marquise also studied history, particularly those persons who had contributed to civilization. Voltaire’s second essay in English had been “Essay upon the Civil Wars in France”. It was followed by La Henriade, an epic poem on the French King Henri IV, glorifying his attempt to end the Catholic-Protestant massacres with the Edict of Nantes, and by a historical novel on King Charles XII of Sweden. These, along with his Letters on the English mark the beginning of Voltaire’s open criticism of intolerance and established religions.[citation needed] Voltaire and the Marquise also explored philosophy, particularly metaphysics, the branch of philosophy that deals with being and with what lies beyond the material realm, such as whether or not there is a God and whether people have souls. Voltaire and the Marquise analyzed the Bible and concluded that much of its content was dubious.[65] Voltaire’s critical views on religion are reflected in his belief in separation of church and state and religious freedom, ideas that he had formed after his stay in England.

In August 1736, Frederick the Great, then Crown Prince of Prussia and a great admirer of Voltaire, initiated a correspondence with him.[66] That December, Voltaire moved to Holland for two months and became acquainted with the scientists Herman Boerhaave and ‘s Gravesande.[67] From mid-1739 to mid-1740 Voltaire lived largely in Brussels, at first with the Marquise, who was unsuccessfully attempting to pursue a 60-year-old family legal case regarding the ownership of two estates in Limburg.[68] In July 1740, he traveled to the Hague on behalf of Frederick in an attempt to dissuade a dubious publisher, van Duren, from printing without permission Frederick’s Anti-Machiavel.[69] In September Voltaire and Frederick (now King) met for the first time in Moyland Castlenear Cleves and in November Voltaire was Frederick’s guest in Berlin for two weeks;[70] in September 1742 they met in Aix-la-Chapelle.[71] Voltaire was sent to Frederick’s court in 1743 by the French government as an envoy and spy to gauge Frederick’s military intentions in the War of the Austrian Succession.[72]

Though deeply committed to the Marquise, Voltaire by 1744 found life at the château confining. On a visit to Paris that year, he found a new love—his niece. At first, his attraction to Marie Louise Mignot was clearly sexual, as evidenced by his letters to her (only discovered in 1957).[73][74] Much later, they lived together, perhaps platonically, and remained together until Voltaire’s death. Meanwhile, the Marquise also took a lover, the Marquis de Saint-Lambert.[75]

Prussia

Die Tafelrunde by Adolph von Menzel: guests of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, including members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and Voltaire (third from left)

After the death of the Marquise in childbirth in September 1749, Voltaire briefly returned to Paris and in mid-1750 moved to Prussia at the invitation of Frederick the Great.[76] The Prussian king (with the permission of Louis XV) made him a chamberlain in his household, appointed him to the Order of Merit, and gave him a salary of 20,000 French livres a year.[77] He had rooms at Sanssouci and Charlottenburg Palace.[78] Life went well for Voltaire at first,[79] and in 1751 he completed Micromégas, a piece of science fiction involving ambassadors from another planet witnessing the follies of humankind.[80] However, his relationship with Frederick the Great began to deteriorate after he was accused of theft and forgery by a Jewish financier, Abraham Hirschel, who had invested in Saxon government bonds on behalf of Voltaire at a time when Frederick was involved in sensitive diplomatic negotiations with Saxony.[81]

He encountered other difficulties: an argument with Maupertuis, the president of the Berlin Academy of Science and a former rival for Émilie’s affections, provoked Voltaire’s Diatribe du docteur Akakia (“Diatribe of Doctor Akakia”), which satirized some of Maupertuis’s theories and his abuse of power in his persecutions of a mutual acquaintance, Johann Samuel König. This greatly angered Frederick, who ordered all copies of the document burned.[82] On 1 January 1752, Voltaire offered to resign as chamberlain and return his insignia of the Order of Merit; at first, Frederick refused until eventually permitting Voltaire to leave in March.[83] On a slow journey back to France, Voltaire stayed at Leipzig and Gotha for a month each, and Kassel for two weeks, arriving at Frankfurt on 31 May. The following morning, he was detained at the inn where he was staying by Frederick’s agents, who held him in the city for over three weeks while they, Voltaire and Frederick argued by letter over the return of a satirical book of poetry Frederick had lent to Voltaire. Marie Louise joined him on 9 June. She and her uncle only left Frankfurt in July after she had defended herself from the unwanted advances of one of Frederick’s agents and Voltaire’s luggage had been ransacked and valuable items taken.[84]

Voltaire’s attempts to vilify Frederick for his agents’ actions at Frankfurt were largely unsuccessful. Voltaire responded by composing Mémoires pour Servir à la Vie de M. de Voltaire, a work published after his death that paints a largely negative picture of his time spent with Frederick. However, the correspondence between them continued, and though they never met in person again, after the Seven Years’ War they largely reconciled.[85]

Geneva and Ferney

Voltaire’s château at Ferney, France

Voltaire’s slow progress toward Paris continued through MainzMannheimStrasbourg, and Colmar,[86] but in January 1754 Louis XV banned him from Paris,[87] so instead he turned for Geneva, near which he bought a large estate (Les Délices) in early 1755.[88] Though he was received openly at first, the law in Geneva, which banned theatrical performances, and the publication of The Maid of Orleans against his will soured his relationship with Calvinist Genevans.[89] In late 1758, he bought an even larger estate at Ferney, on the French side of the Franco-Swiss border.[90]

Early in 1759, Voltaire completed and published Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism). This satire on Leibniz‘s philosophy of optimistic determinism remains the work for which Voltaire is perhaps best known. He would stay in Ferney for most of the remaining 20 years of his life, frequently entertaining distinguished guests, such as James BoswellAdam SmithGiacomo Casanova, and Edward Gibbon.[c] In 1764, he published one of his best-known philosophical works, the Dictionnaire philosophique, a series of articles mainly on Christian history and dogmas, a few of which were originally written in Berlin.[37]

From 1762, he began to champion unjustly persecuted people, the case of Huguenot merchant Jean Calas being the most celebrated.[37] Calas had been tortured to death in 1763, supposedly because he had murdered his eldest son for wanting to convert to Catholicism. His possessions were confiscated and his two daughters were taken from his widow and were forced into Catholic convents. Voltaire, seeing this as a clear case of religious persecution, managed to overturn the conviction in 1765.[91]

Voltaire was initiated into Freemasonry a little over a month before his death. On 4 April 1778, Voltaire attended la Loge des Neuf Sœurs in Paris, and became an Entered ApprenticeFreemason. According to some sources, “Benjamin Franklin … urged Voltaire to become a freemason; and Voltaire agreed, perhaps only to please Franklin.”[92][93][94] However, Benjamin Franklin was merely a visitor at the time Voltaire was initiated, the two only met a month before Voltaire’s death, and their interactions with each other were brief.[95]

House in Paris where Voltaire died

Death and burial

Jean-Antoine Houdon, Voltaire, 1778, National Gallery of Art

In February 1778, Voltaire returned for the first time in over 25 years to Paris, among other reasons to see the opening of his latest tragedy, Irene.[96] The five-day journey was too much for the 83-year-old, and he believed he was about to die on 28 February, writing “I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.” However, he recovered, and in March he saw a performance of Irene, where he was treated by the audience as a returning hero.[37]

He soon became ill again and died on 30 May 1778. The accounts of his deathbed have been numerous and varying, and it has not been possible to establish the details of what precisely occurred. His enemies related that he repented and accepted the last rites given by a Catholic priest, or that he died under great torment, while his adherents told how he was defiant to his last breath.[97] According to one story of his last words, his response to a priest at his deathbed urging him to renounce Satan was “Now is not the time for making new enemies.”[98] However, this appears to have originated from a joke first published in a Massachusetts newspaper in 1856, and was only attributed to Voltaire in the 1970s.[99]

Because of his well-known criticism of the Church, which he had refused to retract before his death, Voltaire was denied a Christian burial in Paris,[100]but friends and relations managed to bury his body secretly at the Abbey of Scellières in Champagne, where Marie Louise’s brother was abbé.[101] His heart and brain were embalmed separately.[102]

Voltaire’s tomb in the Paris Panthéon

Regarding Voltaire as a forerunner of the French Revolution, the National Assembly of France had his remains brought back to Paris, and enshrined in the Panthéon on 11 July 1791.[103][d] It is estimated that a million people attended the procession, which stretched throughout Paris. There was an elaborate ceremony, complete with an orchestra, and the music included a piece that André Grétry had composed especially for the event, which included a part for the “tuba curva” (an instrument that originated in Roman times as the cornu but had recently been revived under a new name).[106]

Writings

History

Voltaire had an enormous influence on the development of historiography through his demonstration of fresh new ways to look at the past. Guillaume de Syon argues:

Voltaire recast historiography in both factual and analytical terms. Not only did he reject traditional biographies and accounts that claim the work of supernatural forces, but he went so far as to suggest that earlier historiography was rife with falsified evidence and required new investigations at the source. Such an outlook was not unique in that the scientific spirit that 18th-century intellectuals perceived themselves as invested with. A rationalistic approach was key to rewriting history.[107]

Voltaire’s best-known histories are History of Charles XII (1731), The Age of Louis XIV (1751), and his Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations (1756). He broke from the tradition of narrating diplomatic and military events, and emphasized customs, social history and achievements in the arts and sciences. The Essay on Customs traced the progress of world civilization in a universal context, thereby rejecting both nationalism and the traditional Christian frame of reference. Influenced by Bossuet‘s Discourse on the Universal History (1682), he was the first scholar to make a serious attempt to write the history of the world, eliminating theological frameworks, and emphasizing economics, culture and political history. He treated Europe as a whole, rather than a collection of nations. He was the first to emphasize the debt of medieval culture to Middle Eastern civilization, but otherwise was weak on the Middle Ages. Although he repeatedly warned against political bias on the part of the historian, he did not miss many opportunities to expose the intolerance and frauds of the church over the ages. Voltaire advised scholars that anything contradicting the normal course of nature was not to be believed. Although he found evil in the historical record, he fervently believed reason and educating the illiterate masses would lead to progress.

Voltaire explains his view of historiography in his article on “History” in Diderot’s Encyclopédie: “One demands of modern historians more details, better ascertained facts, precise dates, more attention to customs, laws, mores, commerce, finance, agriculture, population.” Voltaire’s histories imposed the values of the Enlightenment on the past, but at the same time he helped free historiography from antiquarianism, Eurocentrism, religious intolerance and a concentration on great men, diplomacy, and warfare.[108][109] Yale professor Peter Gay says Voltaire wrote “very good history”, citing his “scrupulous concern for truths”, “careful sifting of evidence”, “intelligent selection of what is important”, “keen sense of drama”, and “grasp of the fact that a whole civilization is a unit of study”.[110]

Poetry

From an early age, Voltaire displayed a talent for writing verse and his first published work was poetry. He wrote two book-long epic poems, including the first ever written in French, the Henriade, and later, The Maid of Orleans, besides many other smaller pieces.[citation needed]

The Henriade was written in imitation of Virgil, using the alexandrine couplet reformed and rendered monotonous for modern readers but it was a huge success in the 18th and early 19th century, with sixty-five editions and translations into several languages. The epic poem transformed French King Henry IV into a national hero for his attempts at instituting tolerance with his Edict of Nantes. La Pucelle, on the other hand, is a burlesque on the legend of Joan of Arc.

Prose

Frontispiece and first page of an early English translation by T. Smollett et al. of Voltaire’s Candide, 1762

Many of Voltaire’s prose works and romances, usually composed as pamphlets, were written as polemicsCandide attacks the passivity inspired by Leibniz’s philosophy of optimism through the character Pangloss’s frequent refrain that circumstances are the “best of all possible worlds“. L’Homme aux quarante ecus (The Man of Forty Pieces of Silver), addresses social and political ways of the time; Zadig and others, the received forms of moral and metaphysical orthodoxy; and some were written to deride the Bible. In these works, Voltaire’s ironic style, free of exaggeration, is apparent, particularly the restraint and simplicity of the verbal treatment.[111] Candide in particular is the best example of his style. Voltaire also has—in common with Jonathan Swift—the distinction of paving the way for science fiction’s philosophical irony, particularly in his Micromégas and the vignette Plato’s Dream (1756).

In general, his criticism and miscellaneous writing show a similar style to Voltaire’s other works. Almost all of his more substantive works, whether in verse or prose, are preceded by prefaces of one sort or another, which are models of his caustic yet conversational tone. In a vast variety of nondescript pamphlets and writings, he displays his skills at journalism. In pure literary criticism his principal work is the Commentaire sur Corneille, although he wrote many more similar works—sometimes (as in his Life and Notices of Molière) independently and sometimes as part of his Siècles.[112]

Voltaire’s works, especially his private letters, frequently contain the word “l’infâme” and the expression “écrasez l’infâme“, or “crush the infamous”.[113]The phrase refers to abuses of the people by royalty and the clergy that Voltaire saw around him, and the superstition and intolerance that the clergy bred within the people.[114] He had felt these effects in his own exiles, the burnings of his books and those of many others, and in the hideous sufferings of Jean Calas and François-Jean de la Barre.[115] He stated in one of his most famous quotes that “Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.”[116]

The most oft-cited Voltaire quotation is apocryphal. He is incorrectly credited with writing, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These were not his words, but rather those of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, written under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre in her 1906 biographical book The Friends of Voltaire. Hall intended to summarize in her own words Voltaire’s attitude towards Claude Adrien Helvétius and his controversial book De l’esprit, but her first-person expression was mistaken for an actual quotation from Voltaire. Her interpretation does capture the spirit of Voltaire’s attitude towards Helvetius; it had been said Hall’s summary was inspired by a quotation found in a 1770 Voltaire letter to an Abbot le Riche, in which he was reported to have said, “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”[117] Nevertheless, scholars believe there must have again been misinterpretation, as the letter does not seem to contain any such quote.[e]

Voltaire’s first major philosophical work in his battle against “l’infâme” was the Traité sur la tolérance (Treatise on Tolerance), exposing the Calas affair, along with the tolerance exercised by other faiths and in other eras (for example, by the Jews, the Romans, the Greeks and the Chinese). Then, in his Dictionnaire philosophique, containing such articles as “Abraham”, “Genesis”, “Church Council”, he wrote about what he perceived as the human origins of dogmas and beliefs, as well as inhuman behavior of religious and political institutions in shedding blood over the quarrels of competing sects. Amongst other targets, Voltaire criticized France’s colonial policy in North America, dismissing the vast territory of New Franceas “a few acres of snow” (“quelques arpents de neige“).

Letters

Voltaire also engaged in an enormous amount of private correspondence during his life, totalling over 20,000 letters. Theodore Besterman‘s collected edition of these letters, completed only in 1964, fills 102 volumes.[118] One historian called the letters “a feast not only of wit and eloquence but of warm friendship, humane feeling, and incisive thought.”[119]

In Voltaire’s correspondence with Catherine the Great he derided democracy. He wrote, “Almost nothing great has ever been done in the world except by the genius and firmness of a single man combating the prejudices of the multitude.”[120]

Religious views

Voltaire at 70; engraving from 1843 edition of his Philosophical Dictionary

Like other key Enlightenment thinkers, Voltaire was a deist.[121] He challenged orthodoxy by asking: “What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason.”[122][123] Voltaire held mixed views of the Abrahamic religions but had a favourable view of Hinduism.

In a 1763 essay, Voltaire supported the toleration of other religions and ethnicities: “It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?”[124]

In one of his many denunciations of priests of every religious sect, Voltaire describes them as those who “rise from an incestuous bed, manufacture a hundred versions of God, then eat and drink God, then piss and shit God.”[125]

Christianity

Historians have described Voltaire’s description of the history of Christianity as “propagandistic”.[126] Voltaire is partially responsible for the misattribution of the expression Credo quia absurdum to the Church Fathers.[127] In a letter to Frederick II, King of Prussia, dated 5 January 1767, he wrote about Christianity:

La nôtre [religion] est sans contredit la plus ridicule, la plus absurde, et la plus sanguinaire qui ait jamais infecté le monde.[128]
“Ours [i.e., the Christian religion] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world. Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think. … My one regret in dying is that I cannot aid you in this noble enterprise, the finest and most respectable which the human mind can point out.”[129][130]

In La bible enfin expliquée, he expressed the following attitude to lay reading of the Bible:

It is characteristic of fanatics who read the holy scriptures to tell themselves: God killed, so I must kill; Abraham lied, Jacob deceived, Rachel stole: so I must steal, deceive, lie. But, wretch, you are neither Rachel, nor Jacob, nor Abraham, nor God; you are just a mad fool, and the popes who forbade the reading of the Bible were extremely wise.[131]

Voltaire’s opinion of the Bible was mixed. Although influenced by Socinian works such as the Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum, Voltaire’s skeptical attitude to the Bible separated him from Unitarian theologians like Fausto Sozzini or even Biblical-political writers like John Locke.[132] His statements on religion also brought down on him the fury of the Jesuits and in particular Claude-Adrien Nonnotte.[133][134][135][136] This did not hinder his religious practice, though it did win for him a bad reputation in certain religious circles. The deeply Christian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote to his father the year of Voltaire’s death, saying, “The arch-scoundrel Voltaire has finally kicked the bucket …”[137] Voltaire was later deemed to influence Edward Gibbon in claiming that Christianity was a contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire in his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide, and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire’s historic school—viz., “that instead of being a merciful, ameliorating, and benignant visitation, the religion of Christians would rather seem to be a scourge sent on man by the author of all evil.”[138]

However, Voltaire also acknowledged the self-sacrifice of Christians. He wrote: “Perhaps there is nothing greater on earth than the sacrifice of youth and beauty, often of high birth, made by the gentle sex in order to work in hospitals for the relief of human misery, the sight of which is so revolting to our delicacy. Peoples separated from the Roman religion have imitated but imperfectly so generous a charity.”[139] Yet, according to Daniel-Rops, Voltaire’s “hatred of religion increased with the passage of years. The attack, launched at first against clericalism and theocracy, ended in a furious assault upon Holy Scripture, the dogmas of the Church, and even upon the person of Jesus Christ Himself, who [he] depicted now as a degenerate”.[140] Voltaire’s reasoning may be summed up in his well-known saying, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities“.

Judaism

According to Orthodox rabbi Joseph Telushkin, the most significant Enlightenment hostility against Judaism was found in Voltaire;[141] thirty of the 118 articles in his Dictionnaire philosophiquedealt with Jews and described them in consistently negative ways.[142][143] For example, in Voltaire’s A Philosophical Dictionary, he wrote of Jews: “In short, we find in them only an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom they are tolerated and enriched.”[144]

On the other hand, Peter Gay, a contemporary authority on the Enlightenment,[141] also points to Voltaire’s remarks (for instance, that the Jews were more tolerant than the Christians) in the Traité sur la tolérance and surmises that “Voltaire struck at the Jews to strike at Christianity”. Whatever anti-semitism Voltaire may have felt, Gay suggests, derived from negative personal experience.[145] Bertram Schwarzbach’s far more detailed studies of Voltaire’s dealings with Jewish people throughout his life concluded that he was anti-biblical, not anti-semitic. His remarks on the Jews and their “superstitions” were essentially no different from his remarks on Christians.[146]

Telushkin states that Voltaire did not limit his attack to aspects of Judaism that Christianity used as a foundation, repeatedly making it clear that he despised Jews.[141] Arthur Hertzberg claims that Gay’s second suggestion is also untenable, as Voltaire himself denied its validity when he remarked that he had “forgotten about much larger bankruptcies through Christians”.[clarification needed][147]

Some authors link Voltaire’s anti-Judaism to his polygenism. According to Joxe Azurmendi this anti-Judaism has a relative importance in Voltaire’s philosophy of history. However, Voltaire’s anti-Judaism influences later authors like Ernest Renan.[148]

According to the historian Will Durant, Voltaire had initially condemned the persecution of Jews on several occasions including in his work Henriade.[149] As stated by Durant, Voltaire had praised the simplicity, sobriety, regularity, and industry of Jews. However, subsequently, Voltaire had become strongly anti-Semitic after some regrettable personal financial transactions and quarrels with Jewish financiers. In his Essai sur les moeurs Voltaire had denounced the ancient Hebrews using strong language; a Catholic priest had protested against this censure. The anti-Semitic passages in Voltaire’s Dictionnaire philosophique were criticized by Issac Pinto in 1762. Subsequently, Voltaire agreed with the criticism of his anti-Semitic views and stated that he had been “wrong to attribute to a whole nation the vices of some individuals”;[150] he also promised to revise the objectionable passages for forthcoming editions of the Dictionnaire philosophique, but failed to do so.[150]

Islam

Voltaire’s views about Islam remained negative as he considered the Quran to be ignorant of the laws of physics.[151] In a 1740 letter to Frederick II of Prussia, Voltaire ascribes to Muhammad a brutality that “is assuredly nothing any man can excuse” and suggests that his following stemmed from superstition. Referring to the prophet, Voltaire continued in his letter, “But that a camel-merchant should stir up insurrection in his village; that in league with some miserable followers he persuades them that he talks with the angel Gabriel; that he boasts of having been carried to heaven, where he received in part this unintelligible book, each page of which makes common sense shudder; that, to pay homage to this book, he delivers his country to iron and flame; that he cuts the throats of fathers and kidnaps daughters; that he gives to the defeated the choice of his religion or death: this is assuredly nothing any man can excuse, at least if he was not born a Turk, or if superstition has not extinguished all natural light in him.”[152]

In 1748, after having read Henri de Boulainvilliers and George Sale,[153] he wrote again about Mohammed and Islam in an article, “De l’Alcoran et de Mahomet” (On the Quran and on Mohammed). In the article, Voltaire maintained that Mohammed was a “sublime charlatan”[f] Drawing also on complementary information in the “Oriental Library” of Herbelot, Voltaire, according to René Pomeau, had a judgement of the Qur’an where he found the book in spite of “the contradictions, the absurdities, the anachronisms”, “rhapsody, without connection, without order, and without art”.[154][155][156][157] Thus he “henceforward conceded”[157] that “if his book was bad for our times and for us, it was very good for his contemporaries, and his religion even more so. It must be admitted that he removed almost all of Asia from idolatry” and that “it was difficult for such a simple and wise religion, taught by a man who was constantly victorious, could hardly fail to subjugate a portion of the earth.” He considered that “its civil laws are good; its dogma is admirable which it has in common with ours” but that “his means are shocking; deception and murder”.[158]

In his Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations (published 1756), Voltaire deals with the history of Europe before Charlemagne to the dawn of the age of Louis XIV, and that of the colonies and the East. As a historian he devoted several chapters to Islam,[159][160][161] Voltaire highlighted the Arabian, Turkish courts, and conducts.[157][162][163][162] Here he called Mohammed a “poet”, and stated that he was not an illiterate.[164] As a “legislator”, he “changed the face of part of Europe [and] one half of Asia.”[165][166][167] In chapter VI, Voltaire finds similarities between Arabs and ancient Hebrews, that they both kept running to battle in the name of God, and sharing a passion for the spoils of war.[168] Voltaire continues that, “It is to be believed that Mohammed, like all enthusiasts, violently struck by his ideas, first presented them in good faith, strengthened them with fantasy, fooled himself in fooling others, and supported through necessary deceptions a doctrine which he considered good.”[169][170] He thus compares “the genius of the Arab people” with “the genius of the ancient Romans”.[171]

Drama Mahomet

The tragedy Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet (FrenchLe fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete) was written in 1736 by Voltaire. The play is a study of religious fanaticism and self-serving manipulation. The character Muhammad orders the murder of his critics.[172] Voltaire described the play as “written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect.”[173]

Voltaire described Muhammad as an “impostor”, a “false prophet”, a “fanatic” and a “hypocrite”.[174][175] Defending the play, Voltaire said that he “tried to show in it into what horrible excesses fanaticism, led by an impostor, can plunge weak minds”.[176] When Voltaire wrote in 1742 to César de Missy, he described Mohammed as deceitful.[177][178]

In his play, Mohammed was “whatever trickery can invent that is most atrocious and whatever fanaticism can accomplish that is most horrifying. Mahomet here is nothing other than Tartuffe with armies at his command.”[179][180] After later having judged that he had made Mohammed in his play “somewhat nastier than he really was”,[181] Voltaire claims that Muhammad stole the idea of an angel weighing both men and women from Zoroastrians, who are often referred to as “Magi“. Voltaire continues about Islam, saying:

Nothing is more terrible than a people who, having nothing to lose, fight in the united spirit of rapine and of religion.[182]

In a 1745 letter recommending the play to Pope Benedict XIV, Voltaire described Muhammad as “the founder of a false and barbarous sect” and “a false prophet”. Voltaire wrote: “Your holiness will pardon the liberty taken by one of the lowest of the faithful, though a zealous admirer of virtue, of submitting to the head of the true religion this performance, written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect. To whom could I with more propriety inscribe a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet, than to the vicar and representative of a God of truth and mercy?”[183][184] His view was modified slightly for Essai sur les Moeurs et l’Esprit des Nations, although they remained negative.[185][186][125][187] In 1751, Voltaire performed his play Mohametonce again, with great success.[188]

Hinduism

Commenting on the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas, Voltaire observed:

The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.[189]

He regarded Hindus as “a peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.”[190] Voltaire was himself a supporter of animal rights and was a vegetarian.[191] He used the antiquity of Hinduism to land what he saw as a devastating blow to the Bible’s claims and acknowledged that the Hindus’ treatment of animals showed a shaming alternative to the immorality of European imperialists.[192]

Views on race and slavery

Voltaire rejected the biblical Adam and Eve story and was a polygenist who speculated that each race had entirely separate origins.[193][194] According to William Cohen, like most other polygenists, Voltaire believed that because of their different origins blacks did not entirely share the natural humanity of whites.[195] According to David Allen Harvey, Voltaire often invoked racial differences as a means to attack religious orthodoxy, and the Biblical account of creation.[196]

His most famous remark on slavery is found in Candide, where the hero is horrified to learn “at what price we eat sugar in Europe” after coming across a slave in French Guiana who has been mutilated for escaping, who opines that, if all human beings have common origins as the Bible taught, it makes them cousins, concluding that “no one could treat their relatives more horribly”. Elsewhere, he wrote caustically about “whites and Christians [who] proceed to purchase negroes cheaply, in order to sell them dear in America”. Voltaire has been accused of supporting the slave trade as per a letter attributed to him,[197][198][199] although it has been suggested that this letter is a forgery “since no satisfying source attests to the letter’s existence.”[200]

In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire endorses Montesquieu‘s criticism of the slave trade: “Montesquieu was almost always in error with the learned, because he was not learned, but he was almost always right against the fanatics and the promoters of slavery.”[201]

Zeev Sternhell argues that despite his shortcomings, Voltaire was a forerunner of liberal pluralism in his approach to history and non-European cultures.[202] Voltaire wrote, “We have slandered the Chinese because their metaphysics is not the same as ours … This great misunderstanding about Chinese rituals has come about because we have judged their usages by ours, for we carry the prejudices of our contentious spirit to the end of the world.”[202] In speaking of Persia, he condemned Europe’s “ignorant audacity” and “ignorant credulity”. When writing about India, he declares, “It is time for us to give up the shameful habit of slandering all sects and insulting all nations!”[202] In Essai sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations, he defended the integrity of the Native Americans and wrote favorably of the Inca Empire.[203]

Appreciation and influence

According to Victor Hugo: “To name Voltaire is to characterize the entire eighteenth century.”[204] Goethe regarded Voltaire to be the greatest literary figure in modern times, and possibly of all times.[205] According to Diderot, Voltaire’s influence on posterity would extend far into the future.[206][g] Napoleon commented that till he was sixteen he “would have fought for Rousseau against the friends of Voltaire, today it is the opposite…The more I read Voltaire the more I love him. He is a man always reasonable, never a charlatan, never a fanatic.”[207] Frederick the Greatcommented on his good fortune for having lived in the age of Voltaire, and corresponded with him throughout his reign until Voltaire’s death.[208] In England, Voltaire’s views influenced GodwinPaineMary WollstonecraftBenthamByron and Shelley.[205] Macaulay made note of the fear that Voltaire’s very name incited in tyrants and fanatics.[209][h]

In Russia, Catherine the Great had been reading Voltaire for sixteen years prior to becoming Empress in 1762.[208][210] In October 1763, she began a correspondence with the philosopher that continued till his death. The content of these letters has been described as being akin to a student writing to a teacher.[211] Upon Voltaire’s death, the Empress purchased his library, which was then transported and placed in The Hermitage.[212] Alexander Herzen remarked that “The writings of the egoist Voltaire did more for liberation than those of the loving Rousseau did for brotherhood.”[213] In his famous letter to N. V. GogolVissarion Belinsky wrote that Voltaire “stamped out the fires of fanaticism and ignorance in Europe by ridicule.”[214]

In his native Paris, Voltaire was viewed as the defender of Jean Calas and Pierre Sirven.[205] Although he failed in securing the annulment of la Barre‘s execution for “blasphemies” against Christianity, despite a protracted campaign, the criminal code that sanctioned the execution was revised during Voltaire’s lifetime.[215] In 1764, Voltaire successfully intervened and secured the release of Claude Chamont for the crime of attending Protestant services. When Comte de Lally was executed for treason in 1766, Voltaire wrote a 300-page document absolving de Lally. Subsequently, in 1778, the judgment against de Lally was expunged just before Voltaire’s death. The Genevan Protestant minister Pomaret once said to Voltaire, “You seem to attack Christianity, and yet you do the work of a Christian.”[216] Frederick the Great noted the significance of a philosopher capable of influencing judges to change their unjust decisions, commenting that this alone is sufficient to ensure the prominence of Voltaire as a humanitarian.[216]

Under the French Third Republic, anarchists and socialists often invoked Voltaire’s writings in their struggles against militarism, nationalism, and the Catholic Church.[217] The section condemning the futility and imbecility of war in the Dictionnaire philosophique was a frequent favorite, as were his arguments that nations can only grow at the expense of others.[218] Following the liberation of France from the Vichy regime in 1944, Voltaire’s 250th birthday was celebrated in both France and the Soviet Union, honoring him as “one of the most feared opponents” of the Nazi collaborators and someone “whose name symbolizes freedom of thought, and hatred of prejudice, superstition, and injustice.”[219]

Jorge Luis Borges stated that “not to admire Voltaire is one of the many forms of stupidity” and included his short fiction such as Micromégas in “The Library of Babel” and “A Personal Library.”[220] Gustave Flaubert believed that France had erred gravely by not following the path forged by Voltaire instead of Rousseau.[221] Most architects of modern America were adherents of Voltaire’s views.[205] According to Will Durant:

Italy had a Renaissance, and Germany had a Reformation, but France had Voltaire; he was for his country both Renaissance and Reformation, and half the Revolution.[204] He was first and best in his time in his conception and writing of history, in the grace of his poetry, in the charm and wit of his prose, in the range of his thought and his influence. His spirit moved like a flame over the continent and the century, and stirs a million souls in every generation.[222]

Voltaire and Rousseau

Voltaire’s junior contemporary Jean-Jacques Rousseau commented on how Voltaire’s book Letters on the English played a great role in his intellectual development.[223] Having written some literary works and also some music, in December 1745 Rousseau wrote a letter introducing himself to Voltaire, who was by then the most prominent literary figure in France, to which Voltaire replied with a polite response. Subsequently, when Rousseau sent Voltaire a copy of his book Discourse on Inequality, Voltaire replied, noting his disagreement with the views expressed in the book:

No one has ever employed so much intellect to persuade men to be beasts. In reading your work one is seized with a desire to walk on four paws [marcher à quatre pattes]. However, as it is more than sixty years since I lost that habit, I feel, unfortunately, that it is impossible for me to resume it.[224]

Subsequently, commenting on Rousseau’s romantic novel Julie, or the New Heloise, Voltaire stated:

No more about Jean-Jacques’ romance if you please. I have read it, to my sorrow, and it would be to his if I had time to say what I think of this silly book.[225]

Voltaire speculated that the first half of Julie had been written in a brothel and the second half in a lunatic asylum.[226] In his Lettres sur La Nouvelle Heloise, written under a pseudonym, Voltaire offered criticism highlighting grammatical mistakes in the book:

Paris recognized Voltaire’s hand and judged the patriarch to be bitten by jealousy.[225]

In reviewing Rousseau’s book Emile after its publication, Voltaire dismissed it as “a hodgepodge of a silly wet nurse in four volumes, with forty pages against Christianity, among the boldest ever known.” He expressed admiration for the section in this book titled Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar, calling it “fifty good pages…it is regrettable that they should have been written by…such a knave.”[227] He went on to predict that Emile would be forgotten after a month.[226]

In 1764, Rousseau published Lettres de la montagne, containing nine letters on religion and politics. In the fifth letter he wondered why Voltaire had not been able to imbue the Genevan councilors, who frequently met him, “with that spirit of tolerance which he preaches without cease, and of which he sometimes has need”. The letter continued with an imaginary speech delivered by Voltaire, imitating his literary style, in which he accepts authorship for the book Sermon of the Fifty—a book whose authorship Voltaire had repeatedly denied because it contained many heresies.[228]

In 1772, when a priest sent Rousseau a pamphlet denouncing Voltaire, Rousseau responded with a defense of Voltaire:

He has said and done so many good things that we should draw the curtain over his irregularities.[228]

In 1778, when Voltaire was given unprecedented honors at the Théâtre-Français,[229] an acquaintance of Rousseau ridiculed the event. This was met by a sharp retort from Rousseau:

How dare you mock the honors rendered to Voltaire in the temple of which he is the god, and by the priests who for fifty years have been living off his masterpieces?[230]

On 2 July 1778, Rousseau died one month after Voltaire’s death.[231] In October 1794, Rousseau’s remains were moved to the Panthéon, where they were placed near the remains of Voltaire.[232][i]

Louis XVI, while incarcerated in the Temple, had remarked that Rousseau and Voltaire had “destroyed France”, by which he meant his dynasty.[233][j]

Legacy

Voltaire perceived the French bourgeoisie to be too small and ineffective, the aristocracy to be parasitic and corrupt, the commoners as ignorant and superstitious, and the Church as a static and oppressive force useful only on occasion as a counterbalance to the rapacity of kings, although all too often, even more rapacious itself. Voltaire distrusted democracy, which he saw as propagating the idiocy of the masses.[235] Voltaire long thought only an enlightened monarch could bring about change, given the social structures of the time and the extremely high rates of illiteracy, and that it was in the king’s rational interest to improve the education and welfare of his subjects. But his disappointments and disillusions with Frederick the Great changed his philosophy somewhat, and soon gave birth to one of his most enduring works, his novella Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism, 1759), which ends with a new conclusion: “It is up to us to cultivate our garden.” His most polemical and ferocious attacks on intolerance and religious persecutions indeed began to appear a few years later. Candide was also burned and Voltaire jokingly claimed the actual author was a certain ‘Demad’ in a letter, where he reaffirmed the main polemical stances of the text.[236]

He is remembered and honored in France as a courageous polemicist who indefatigably fought for civil rights (as the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion) and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the Ancien Régime. The Ancien Régime involved an unfair balance of power and taxes between the three Estates: clergy and nobles on one side, the commoners and middle class, who were burdened with most of the taxes, on the other. He particularly had admiration for the ethics and government as exemplified by the Chinese philosopher Confucius.[237]

Voltaire is also known for many memorable aphorisms, such as “Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer” (“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”), contained in a verse epistle from 1768, addressed to the anonymous author of a controversial work on The Three Impostors. But far from being the cynical remark it is often taken for, it was meant as a retort to atheistic opponents such as d’HolbachGrimm, and others.[238] He has had his detractors among his later colleagues. The Scottish Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle argued that “Voltaire read history, not with the eye of devout seer or even critic, but through a pair of mere anti-catholic spectacles.”[239]

The town of Ferney, where Voltaire lived out the last 20 years of his life, was officially named Ferney-Voltaire in honor of its most famous resident in 1878.[240] His château is a museum. Voltaire’s library is preserved intact in the National Library of Russia at Saint Petersburg, Russia. In the Zurich of 1916, the theatre and performance group who would become the early avant-garde movement Dada named their theater The Cabaret Voltaire. A late-20th-century industrial music group then named themselves after the theater. Astronomers have bestowed his name to the Voltaire crater on Deimos and the asteroid 5676 Voltaire.[241]

Voltaire was also known to have been an advocate for coffee, as he was reported to have drunk it 50–72 times per day. It has been suggested that high amounts of caffeine acted as a mental stimulant to his creativity.[242] His great-grand-niece was the mother of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic philosopher and Jesuit priest.[243][244] His book Candide was listed as one of The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written, by Martin Seymour-Smith.

In the 1950s, the bibliographer and translator Theodore Besterman started to collect, transcribe and publish all of Voltaire’s writings.[245] He founded the Voltaire Institute and Museum in Genevawhere he began publishing collected volumes of Voltaire’s correspondence.[245] On his death in 1976, he left his collection to the University of Oxford, where the Voltaire Foundation became established as a department.[246][247] The Foundation has continued to publish the Complete Works of Voltaire, a complete chronological series which is expected to reach completion in 2018, reaching around 200 volumes, fifty years after the series began.[247][248] It also publishes the series Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, begun by Bestermann as Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, which has reached more than 500 volumes.[247]

Chronology

Works

Non-fiction

History

Novellas

  • The One-eyed Street Porter, Cosi-sancta (1715)
  • Plato’s Dream (1737)
  • Micromégas (1738)
  • The World as it Goes (1750)
  • Memnon (1750)
  • Bababec and the Fakirs (1750)
  • Timon (1755)
  • The Travels of Scarmentado (1756)
  • The Two Consoled Ones (1756)
  • Zadig, or, Destiny (1757)
  • Candide, or Optimism (1758)
  • Story of a Good Brahman (1759)
  • The King of Boutan (1761)
  • The City of Cashmere (1760)
  • An Indian Adventure (1764)
  • The White and the Black (1764)
  • Jeannot and Colin (1764)
  • The Blind Judges of Colors (1766)
  • The Princess of Babylon (1768)
  • The Man with Forty Crowns (1768)
  • The Letters of Amabed (1769)
  • The Huron, or Pupil of Nature (1771)
  • The White Bull (1772)
  • An Incident of Memory (1773)
  • The History of Jenni (1774)
  • The Travels of Reason (1774)
  • The Ears of Lord Chesterfield and Chaplain Goudman (1775)

Plays

Voltaire wrote between fifty and sixty plays, including a few unfinished ones.[249] Among them are:

Collected works

  • Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, A. Beuchot (ed.). 72 vols. (1829–40)
  • Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Louis E.D. Moland and G. Bengesco (eds.}. 52 vols. (1877–85)
  • Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Theodore Besterman, et al. (eds.). 144 vols. (1968–2018)

See also

References …

Bibliography

Further reading

In French

  • Korolev, S. Voltaire et la reliure des livres // Revue Voltaire. Paris, 2013. #13. pp. 233–40.
  • René PomeauLa Religion de Voltaire, Librairie Nizet, Paris, 1974.
  • Valérie Crugten-André, La vie de Voltaire [1]

Primary sources

  • Morley, J., The Works of Voltaire, A Contemporary Version, (21 vol 1901), online edition

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltaire

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Philip K. Dick — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — Ridley Scott — Blade Runner — Videos

Posted on October 10, 2018. Filed under: American History, Art, Articles, Blogroll, College, Communications, Congress, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Documentary, Education, Essays, Freedom, Friends, history, Investments, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Political Correctness, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rifles, Speech, Spying, State, Strategy, Success, Video, War, Weapons, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
DoAndroidsDream.png

Cover of first hardback edition
Author Philip K. Dick
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fictionphilosophical fiction
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
1968
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 210
61,237 words[1]
OCLC 34818133
Followed by Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (retitled Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in some later printings) is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1968. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth’s life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. Most animal species are endangered or extinct from extreme radiation poisoning, so that owning an animal is now a sign of status and empathy, an attitude encouraged towards animals. The book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner, and many elements and themes from it were used in its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049.

The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is tasked with “retiring” (i.e. killing) six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard’s mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human and whether empathy is a purely human ability.

Synopsis

Background

In post-apocalyptic 1992 (2021 in later editions),[2] after “World War Terminus”, the Earth’s radioactively polluted atmosphere leads the United Nations to encourage mass emigrations to off-world colonies to preserve humanity’s genetic integrity. This comes with the incentive of free personal androids: robot servants identical to humans. On Earth, owning real live animals has become a fashionable status symbol, because of mass extinctions and the accompanying cultural push for greater empathy, which has coincidentally motivated a new technology-based religion called Mercerism. Mercerism uses “empathy boxes” to link users simultaneously to a virtual reality of collective suffering, centered on a martyr-like character, Wilbur Mercer, who eternally climbs up a hill while being hit with crashing stones. In terms of the owning of live animals, poor people can only afford realistic-looking electric imitations of animals. Rick Deckard, for example, owns a robotic black-faced sheep. The story also contains passing mention of “Penfield mood organs”, similar to mind-altering drugs in other Dick stories, and used as a technology for inducing any desired mood among people in its vicinity.

Plot summary

Bounty hunter Rick Deckard signs on to a new police mission in order to earn enough money to buy a live animal to replace his lone electric sheep, seeking greater existential fulfillment for himself and his depressed wife, Iran. The mission involves hunting down (“retiring”) six Nexus-6 androids that violently went rogue after their creation by the Rosen Association and fled Mars for Earth. Deckard visits the Rosen headquarters in Seattle to confirm the validity of a question-and-answer empathy test: the typical method for identifying any androids posing as humans. Deckard is greeted by Rachael Rosen, who quickly fails his test. Rachael herself attempts to bribe Deckard into silence, but he verifies that she is indeed a Nexus-6 model used by Rosen to attempt to discredit the test.

Deckard soon meets a Soviet police contact who turns out to be one of the Nexus-6 renegades in disguise. Deckard retires the android, then flies off to retire his next target: an opera singer android. However, he is suddenly arrested and detained at a police department he has never heard of by a police officer whom he is surprised never to have met. At this strange station, Deckard’s worldview is shaken when an official named Garland accuses Deckard himself of being an android. After a series of mysterious revelations at the station, Deckard ponders the ethical and philosophical questions his line of work raises regarding android intelligence, empathy, and what it means to be human. Phil Resch, the station’s resident bounty hunter, retrieves testing equipment to determine if his coworkers—including Deckard and Resch himself—are androids or humans. Garland subsequently reveals that the entire station is a sham, staffed entirely by androids, including Garland himself. Resch shoots Garland in the head, allowing him and Deckard to escape; together, they find the opera singer, whom Resch brutally retires in cold blood. Although Resch and Deckard are now collaborators, each still worries that he (or the other) might be an android. Deckard administers the empathy test to himself and to Resch, which confirms that Resch is a human being—simply a particularly ruthless one—and that Deckard is also human, but with a sense of empathy for the androids.

Only three of the Nexus-6 android fugitives remain, and one, Pris Stratton, moves into an apartment building whose only other inhabitant is John R. Isidore, a radioactively damaged, intellectually below-average human classified as a “special.” The lonely Isidore attempts to befriend her. Roy and Irmgard Baty, the final two rogue androids, visit the building, and together they all plan how to survive. Meanwhile, Deckard buys Iran an authentic Nubian goat with his reward money. After quitting, Deckard is pulled back in after being notified of a new lead and experiencing a vision of the prophet-like Mercer confusingly telling him to proceed, despite the immorality of the mission. Deckard calls on Rachael Rosen again, since her own knowledge as an android will aid his investigation. Rachael reveals that she and Pris are the same exact model, meaning that he will have to shoot down an android that looks just like her. Rachael coaxes Deckard into sex, after which they confess their love for one another. However, she reveals she has slept with many bounty hunters, having been programmed to do so in order to dissuade them from their missions. He threatens to kill her, but instead he abruptly leaves.

Isidore develops friendships with the three android fugitives, and they all watch a television program giving definitive evidence that Mercerism is a hoax. Roy Baty tells Isidore that the show was produced by androids to discredit Mercerism and blur the distinction with humans. Suddenly Deckard enters the building, with strange, supernatural premonitions of Mercer appearing to both him and Isidore. Since they attack him first, Deckard is legally justified as he shoots down all three androids without previously testing them. Isidore is devastated, and Deckard is soon rewarded for a record number of Nexus-6 kills in a single day. When Deckard returns home, he finds Iran grieving because Rachael Rosen recently showed up and killed their goat.

Deckard goes to an uninhabited, obliterated region of Oregon to reflect. He climbs a hill when he is hit by falling rocks and realizes this is an experience eerily similar to Mercer’s martyrdom. Rushing back to his car, he stumbles abruptly upon a toad, an animal previously thought to be extinct, and one of the animals sacred to Mercer. With newfound joy, Deckard brings the toad home, where Iran quickly discovers it is just a robot. While Deckard is unhappy, he decides that he at least prefers to know the truth, making the remark that “the electrical things have their lives too, paltry as those lives are”.

Adaptations

Film

In 1982, Hampton Fancher and David Peoples wrote a loose cinematic adaptation that became the film Blade Runner, featuring several of the novel’s characters. It was directed by Ridley Scott. Following the international success of the film,[3] the title Blade Runner was adopted for some later editions of the novel, although the term itself was not used in the original.

Radio

As part of their Dangerous Visions dystopia series in 2014, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a two-part adaptation of the novel. It was produced and directed by Sasha Yevtushenko from an adaption by Jonathan Holloway. It stars James Purefoy as Rick Deckard and Jessica Raine as Rachael Rosen.[4] The episodes were originally broadcast on Sunday 15 June and 22 June 2014.

Audiobook

The novel has been released in audiobook form at least twice. A version was released in 1994 that featured Matthew Modine and Calista Flockhart.

A new audiobook version was released in 2007 by Random House Audio to coincide with the release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. This version, read by Scott Brick, is unabridged and runs approximately 9.5 hours over eight CDs. This version is a tie-in, using the Blade Runner: The Final Cut film poster and Blade Runner title.[5]

Theater

A stage adaptation of the book, written by Edward Einhorn, ran from November 18 to December 10, 2010 at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in New York[6] and made its West Coast Premiere on September 13, playing until October 10, 2013 at the Sacred Fools Theater Company in Los Angeles.[7]

Comic books

BOOM! Studios published a 24-issue comic book limited series based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? containing the full text of the novel illustrated by artist Tony Parker.[8] The comic garnered a nomination for “Best New Series” from the 2010 Eisner Awards.[9]In May 2010 BOOM! Studios began serializing an eight issue prequel subtitled Dust To Dust and written by Chris Roberson and drawn by Robert Adler.[10] The story took place in the days immediately after World War Terminus.[11]

Sequels

Three novels intended to serve as sequels to both Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner have been published:

These official and authorized sequels were written by Dick’s friend K. W. Jeter.[12] They continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to reconcile many of the differences between the novel and the 1982 film.

Critical reception

Critical reception of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has been overshadowed by the popularity of its 1982 film adaptation, Blade Runner. Of those critics who focus on the novel, several nest it predominantly in the history of Philip K. Dick‘s body of work. In particular, Dick’s 1972 speech “The Human and the Android” is cited in this connection. Jill Galvan[13] calls attention to the correspondence between Dick’s portrayal of the narrative’s dystopian, polluted, man-made setting and the description Dick gives in his speech of the increasingly artificial and potentially sentient or “quasi-alive” environment of his present. Summarizing the essential point of Dick’s speech, Galvan argues,”[o]nly by recognizing how [technology] has encroached upon our understanding of ‘life’ can we come to full terms with the technologies we have produced” (414). As a “bildungsroman of the cybernetic age,” Galvan maintains, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? follows one person’s gradual acceptance of the new reality. Christopher Palmer[14] emphasizes Dick’s speech to bring to attention the increasingly dangerous risk of humans becoming “mechanical”.[15] “Androids threaten reduction of what makes life valuable, yet promise expansion or redefinition of it, and so do aliens and gods”.[15] Gregg Rickman[16] cites another, earlier and lesser known Dick novel that also deals with androids, We Can Build You, asserting that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? can be read as a sequel.

In a departure from the tendency among most critics to examine the novel in relation to Dick’s other texts, Klaus Benesch[17] examined Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? primarily in connection with Lacan’s essay on the mirror stage. There, Lacan claims that the formation and reassurance of the self depends on the construction of an Other through imagery, beginning with a double as seen in the mirror. The androids, Benesch argues, perform a doubling function similar to the mirror image of the self, but they do this on a social, not individual, scale. Therefore, human anxiety about androids expresses uncertainty about human identity and society. Benesch draws on Kathleen Woodward’s[18] emphasis on the body to illustrate the shape of human anxiety about an android Other. Woodward asserts that the debate over distinctions between human and machine usually fails to acknowledge the presence of the body. “If machines are invariably contrived as technological prostheses that are designed to amplify the physical faculties of the body, they are also built, according to this logic, to outdo, to surpass the human in the sphere of physicality altogether”.[19]

Awards and honors

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Text Stats”Amazon.com. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Note: This change counteracts a problem common to near-future stories, where the passage of time overtakes the period in which the story is set; for a list of other works that have fallen prey to this phenomenon, see the List of stories set in a future now past.
  3. Jump up^ Sammon, Paul M (1996). Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. London: Orion Media. pp. 318–329. ISBN 0-06-105314-7.
  4. Jump up^ “BBC Radio 4 – Dangerous Visions, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Episode 2”bbc.co.ukBBC Radio 4. 28 Jun 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition) by Philip K. Dick – Unabridged Compact Disc Random House, November 27, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7393-4275-6 (0-7393-4275-4).
  6. Jump up^ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Untitled Theater Company #61. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  7. Jump up^ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”Sacred Fools Theater Company. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Philip K. Dick Press Release – BOOM! ANNOUNCES DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? ArchivedSeptember 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Jump up^ Heller, Jason (April 9, 2010). “Eisner Award nominees announced”. The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  10. Jump up^ Langshaw, Mark. “BOOM! expands on ‘Blade Runner’ universe”. Digital Spy.
  11. Jump up^ “BOOM! Studios publishes ‘Electric Sheep’ prequel”. Tyrell-corporation.pp.se. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  12. Jump up^ Jeter, K. W. “Summary Bibliography: K. W. Jeter”.
  13. Jump up^ Galvan, Jill (1997). “Entering the Postman Collective: Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Science Fiction Studies24 (3): 413–429.
  14. Jump up^ Palmer, Christopher (2003). Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press. p. 259.
  15. Jump up to:a b Palmer, Christopher (2003). Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press. p. 225.
  16. Jump up^ Rickman, Gregg (1995). “What Is This Sickness?”: “Schizophrenia” and We Can Build You. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 143–157.
  17. Jump up^ Benesch, Klaus (1999). “Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg as Cultural Other in Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“. Amerikastudien/American Studies44 (3 Body/Art): 379–392.
  18. Jump up^ Woodward, Kathleen (1997). “Prosthetic Emotions”. In Hoffman, Gerhard. Emotions in the Postmodern. Heidelberg: Alfred Hornung. pp. 75–107.
  19. Jump up^ Woodward, Kathleen (1997). “Prosthetic Emotions”. In Hoffman, Gerhard. Emotions in the Postmodern. Heidelberg: Alfred Hornung. p. 391.
  20. Jump up^ “1968 Award Winners & Nominees”Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-27.

Further reading

Criticism
  • Benesch, Klaus (1999). “Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg As Cultural Other in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“. Amerikastudien/American Studies44 (3): 379–392. JSTOR 41157479.
  • Butler, Andrew M. (1991). “Reality versus Transience: An Examination of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner“. In Merrifield, Jeff. Philip K. Dick: A Celebration (Programme Book). Epping Forest College, Loughton: Connections.
  • Gallo, Domenico (2002). “Avvampando gli angeli caddero: Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick e il cyberpunk”. In Bertetti; Scolari. Lo sguardo degli angeli: Intorno e oltre Blade Runner (in Italian). Torino: Testo & Immagine. pp. 206–218. ISBN 88-8382-075-4.
  • Galvan, Jill (1997). “Entering the Posthuman Collective in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“. Science-Fiction Studies24 (3): 413–429. JSTOR 4240644.
  • McCarthy, Patrick A. (1999–2000). “Do Androids Dream of Magic Flutes?”. Paradoxa5 (13–14): 344–352.
  • Niv, Tal (2014). “The Return of a Terrifying and Wonderful Creation On Our Future and Our Present”Haaretz. (Hebrew) Critical analysis of the 2014 edition of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

External links

 

Philip K. Dick

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Philip K. Dick
PhilipDick.jpg
Born Philip Kindred Dick
December 16, 1928
ChicagoIllinois, United States
Died March 2, 1982 (aged 53)
Santa Ana, California, United States
Pen name
  • Richard Phillipps
  • Jack Dowland
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist
Nationality US
Period 1952–1982
Genre Science fictionparanoid fictionphilosophical fiction
Literary movement Postmodernism
Notable works
Children 3

Signature

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolisticcorporations, alternative universesauthoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His writing also reflected his interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of realityidentitydrug abuseschizophrenia, and transcendental experiences.

Born in Illinois, he eventually moved to California and began publishing science fiction stories in the 1950s. His stories initially found little commercial success.[1] His 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castleearned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel.[2] He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel.[3] Following a series of religious experiences in February 1974, Dick’s work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in such novels as A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981).[4] A collection of his non-fiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982, at age 53, due to complications from a stroke.

Dick’s writing produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.[5]

A variety of popular films based on Dick’s works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

In 2005, Time named Ubik one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923.[6] In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.[7][8][9][10]

Early life

Philip Kindred Dick and his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, were born six weeks prematurely on December 16, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (née Kindred; 1900–1978) and Joseph Edgar Dick (1899–1985), who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture.[11][12] His paternal grandparents were Irish.[13] The death of Jane six weeks later, on January 26, 1929, profoundly affected Philip’s life, leading to the recurrent motif of the “phantom twin” in his books.[11]

His family later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. When Philip was five, his father was transferred to Reno, Nevada; when Dorothy refused to move, she and Joseph divorced. Both parents fought for custody of Philip, which was awarded to the mother. Dorothy, determined to raise Philip alone, took a job in Washington, D.C., and moved there with her son. Philip was enrolled at John Eaton Elementary School (1936–1938), completing the second through fourth grades. His lowest grade was a “C” in Written Composition, although a teacher remarked that he “shows interest and ability in story telling”. He was educated in Quaker schools.[14] In June 1938, Dorothy and Philip returned to California, and it was around this time that he became interested in science fiction.[15] Dick stated that he read his first science fiction magazine, Stirring Science Stories in 1940 at the age of 12.[15]

Dick attended Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. He and fellow science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin were members of the same graduating class (1947) but did not know each other at the time. After graduation, he briefly attended the University of California, Berkeley, (September 1949 to November 11, 1949) with an honorable dismissal granted January 1, 1950. Dick did not declare a major and took classes in history, psychology, philosophy, and zoology. Through his studies in philosophy, he believed that existence is based on internal human perception, which does not necessarily correspond to external reality; he described himself as “an acosmic panentheist,” believing in the universe only as an extension of God.[16] After reading the works of Plato and pondering the possibilities of metaphysical realms, Dick came to the conclusion that, in a certain sense, the world is not entirely real and there is no way to confirm whether it is truly there. This question from his early studies persisted as a theme in many of his novels. Dick dropped out because of ongoing anxiety problems, according to his third wife Anne’s memoir. She also says he disliked the mandatory ROTC training. At Berkeley, Dick befriended poet Robert Duncan and poet and linguist Jack Spicer, who gave Dick ideas for a Martian language. Dick claimed to have hosted a classical music program on KSMO Radio in 1947.[17] From 1948 to 1952, Dick worked at Art Music Company, a record store on Telegraph Avenue.

Career

Early writing

Dick’s novelette “The Defenders” was the cover story for the January 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

Dick’s short story “The World She Wanted” took the cover of the May 1953 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly

Dick’s novel The Cosmic Puppetsoriginally appeared in the December 1956 issue of Satellite Science Fictionas “A Glass of Darkness”

Dick sold his first story in 1951, and from then on wrote full-time. During 1952 his first speculative fiction publications appeared in July and September numbers of Planet Stories, edited by Jack O’Sullivan, and in If and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that year.[18] His debut novel was Solar Lottery, published in 1955 as half of Ace Double #D-103 alongside The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett.[18] The 1950s were a difficult and impoverished time for Dick, who once lamented, “We couldn’t even pay the late fees on a library book.” He published almost exclusively within the science fiction genre, but dreamed of a career in mainstream fiction.[19] During the 1950s he produced a series of non-genre, relatively conventional novels. In 1960 he wrote that he was willing to “take twenty to thirty years to succeed as a literary writer”. The dream of mainstream success formally died in January 1963 when the Scott Meredith Literary Agency returned all of his unsold mainstream novels. Only one of these works, Confessions of a Crap Artist, was published during Dick’s lifetime.

In 1963, Dick won the Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle.[2] Although he was hailed as a genius in the science fiction world, the mainstream literary world was unappreciative, and he could publish books only through low-paying science fiction publishers such as Ace. Even in his later years, he continued to have financial troubles. In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man, Dick wrote:

Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don’t agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn’t raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I’m a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love.

Flight to Canada and suicide attempt

In 1971, Dick’s marriage to Nancy Hackett broke down, and she moved out of their house in Santa Venetia, California. Having struggled with amphetamine abuse for much of the past decade (stemming in part from his need to maintain a prolific writing regimen due to the financial exigencies of the science fiction field), he allowed other drug users to move into the house. Following the release of 21 novels between 1960 and 1970, these developments were exacerbated by unprecedented periods of writer’s block, with Dick ultimately failing to publish new fiction until 1974.[20]

One day in November, Dick returned to his home to discover that it had been burglarized, with his safe blown open and personal papers missing. The police were unable to determine the culprit, and even suspected Dick of having done it himself.[21] Shortly afterwards, he was invited to be guest of honor at the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention in February 1972. Within a day of arriving at the conference and giving his speech The Android and the Human, he informed people that he had fallen in love with a woman named Janis whom he had met there and announced that he would be remaining in Vancouver.[21] An attendee of the conference, Michael Walsh, movie critic for local newspaper The Province, invited Dick to stay in his home, but asked him to leave two weeks later due to his erratic behavior. This was followed by Janis ending her and Dick’s relationship and moving away. On March 23, 1972, Dick attempted suicide by taking an overdose of the sedative potassium bromide.[21] Subsequently, after deciding to seek help, Dick became a participant in X-Kalay (a Canadian Synanon-type recovery program), and was well enough by April to return to California.[21]

Upon relocating to Orange County, California at the behest of California State University, Fullerton professor Willis McNelly (who initiated a correspondence with Dick during his X-Kalay stint), he donated manuscripts, papers and other materials to the University’s Special Collections Library, where they are archived in the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Collection in the Pollak Library. During this period, Dick befriended a circle of Fullerton State students that encompassed several aspiring science fiction writers, including K. W. JeterJames Blaylock and Tim Powers.

Dick returned to the events of these months while writing his 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly,[22] which contains fictionalized depictions of the burglary of his home, his time using amphetamines and living with addicts, and his experiences of X-Kalay (portrayed in the novel as “New-Path”). A factual account of Dick’s recovery program participation was portrayed in his posthumously released book The Dark Haired Girl, a collection of letters and journals from the period.

Paranormal experiences

On February 20, 1974, while recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth, Dick received a home delivery of Darvon from a young woman. When he opened the door, he was struck by the beauty of the dark-haired girl and was especially drawn to her golden necklace. He asked her about its curious fish-shaped design. “This is a sign used by the early Christians,” she said, and then left. Dick called the symbol the “vesicle pisces”. This name seems to have been based on his conflation of two related symbols, the Christian ichthys symbol (two intersecting arcs delineating a fish in profile) which the woman was wearing, and the vesica piscis.[23]

Dick recounted that as the sun glinted off the gold pendant, the reflection caused the generation of a “pink beam” of light that mesmerized him. He came to believe the beam imparted wisdom and clairvoyance, and also believed it to be intelligent. On one occasion, Dick was startled by a separate recurrence of the pink beam. It imparted the information to him that his infant son was ill. The Dicks rushed the child to the hospital, where his suspicion was confirmed by professional diagnosis.[24][verification needed]

After the woman’s departure, Dick began experiencing strange hallucinations. Although initially attributing them to side effects from medication, he considered this explanation implausible after weeks of continued hallucinations. “I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane,” Dick told Charles Platt.[25]

Throughout February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of hallucinations, which he referred to as “2-3-74”,[19] shorthand for February–March 1974. Aside from the “pink beam”, Dick described the initial hallucinations as geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and ancient Rome. As the hallucinations increased in length and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live two parallel lives, one as himself, “Philip K. Dick”, and one as “Thomas”, a Christian persecuted by Romans in the first century AD. He referred to the “transcendentally rational mind” as “Zebra”, “God” and “VALIS“. Dick wrote about the experiences, first in the semi-autobiographical novel Radio Free Albemuth and then in VALISThe Divine Invasion and the unfinished The Owl in Daylight (the VALIS trilogy).

In 1974, Dick wrote a letter to the FBI, accusing various people, including University of California, San Diego professor Frederic Jameson, of being foreign agents of Warsaw Pact powers.[26] He also wrote that Stanisław Lem was probably a false name used by a composite committee operating on orders of the Communist party to gain control over public opinion.[27]

At one point Dick felt that he had been taken over by the spirit of the prophet Elijah. He believed that an episode in his novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said was a detailed retelling of a biblical story from the Book of Acts, which he had never read.[28] Dick documented and discussed his experiences and faith in a private journal he called his “exegesis”, portions of which were later published as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. The last novel Dick wrote was The Transmigration of Timothy Archer; it was published shortly after his death in 1982.

Personal life

Dick was married five times:

  • Jeanette Marlin (May to November 1948)
  • Kleo Apostolides (June 14, 1950 to 1959)
  • Anne Williams Rubinstein (April 1, 1959 to October 1965)
  • Nancy Hackett (July 6, 1966 to 1972)
  • Leslie (Tessa) Busby (April 18, 1973 to 1977)

Dick had three children, Laura Archer (February 25, 1960), Isolde Freya (now Isa Dick Hackett) (March 15, 1967), and Christopher Kenneth (July 25, 1973).

In 1955, he and his second wife, Kleo Apostolides, received a visit from the FBI, which they believed to be the result of Kleo’s socialist views and left-wing activities. The couple briefly befriended one of the FBI agents.[29]

He was physically abusive with his third wife; after one argument in 1963, he attempted to push her off a cliff in a car, then later claimed she was trying to kill him, and convinced a psychiatrist to commit her involuntarily. After filing for divorce in 1964, he moved to Oakland to live with a fan, Grania Davis. Shortly after, he attempted suicide by driving off the road while she was a passenger.[30]

Dick tried to stay out of the political scene because of high societal turmoil from the Vietnam War; however, he did show some anti-Vietnam War and anti-governmental sentiments. In 1968, he joined the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest“,[16][31] an anti-war pledge to pay no U.S. federal income tax, which resulted in the confiscation of his car by the IRS.

Death

On February 17, 1982, after completing an interview, Dick contacted his therapist, complaining of failing eyesight, and was advised to go to a hospital immediately, but did not. The following day, he was found unconscious on the floor of his Santa Ana, California home, having suffered a stroke. On February 25, 1982, Dick suffered another stroke in the hospital, which led to brain death. Five days later, on March 2, 1982, he was disconnected from life support and died. After his death, Dick’s father, Joseph, took his son’s ashes to Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, (section K, block 1, lot 56), where they were buried next to his twin sister Jane, who died in infancy. Her tombstone had been inscribed with both of their names at the time of her death, 53 years earlier.[32][33][34]

Style and works

Themes

Dick’s third major theme is his fascination with war and his fear and hatred of it. One hardly sees critical mention of it, yet it is as integral to his body of work as oxygen is to water.[35]

—Steven Owen Godersky

Dick’s stories typically focus on the fragile nature of what is real and the construction of personal identity. His stories often become surreal fantasies, as the main characters slowly discover that their everyday world is actually an illusion assembled by powerful external entities, such as the suspended animation in Ubik,[36] vast political conspiracies or the vicissitudes of an unreliable narrator. “All of his work starts with the basic assumption that there cannot be one, single, objective reality”, writes science fiction author Charles Platt. “Everything is a matter of perception. The ground is liable to shift under your feet. A protagonist may find himself living out another person’s dream, or he may enter a drug-induced state that actually makes better sense than the real world, or he may cross into a different universe completely.”[25]

Alternate universes and simulacra are common plot devices, with fictional worlds inhabited by common, working people, rather than galactic elites. “There are no heroes in Dick’s books”, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote, “but there are heroics. One is reminded of Dickens: what counts is the honesty, constancy, kindness and patience of ordinary people.”[36] Dick made no secret that much of his thinking and work was heavily influenced by the writings of Carl Jung.[32][37] The Jungian constructs and models that most concerned Dick seem to be the archetypes of the collective unconscious, group projection/hallucination, synchronicities, and personality theory.[32] Many of Dick’s protagonists overtly analyze reality and their perceptions in Jungian terms (see Lies Inc.). Dick’s self-named Exegesis also contained many notes on Jung in relation to theology and mysticism.[citation needed]

Dick identified one major theme of his work as the question, “What constitutes the authentic human being?”[38] In works such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, beings can appear totally human in every respect while lacking soul or compassion, while completely alien beings such as Glimmung in Galactic Pot-Healer may be more humane and complex than their human peers.

Mental illness was a constant interest of Dick’s, and themes of mental illness permeate his work. The character Jack Bohlen in the 1964 novel Martian Time-Slip is an “ex-schizophrenic”. The novel Clans of the Alphane Moon centers on an entire society made up of descendants of lunatic asylum inmates. In 1965 he wrote the essay titled “Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes”.[39]

Drug use (including religiousrecreational, and abuse) was also a theme in many of Dick’s works, such as A Scanner Darkly and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Dick himself was a drug user for much of his life. According to a 1975 interview in Rolling Stone,[40]Dick wrote all of his books published before 1970 while on amphetamines. “A Scanner Darkly (1977) was the first complete novel I had written without speed”, said Dick in the interview. He also experimented briefly with psychedelics, but wrote The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, which Rolling Stone dubs “the classic LSD novel of all time”, before he had ever tried them. Despite his heavy amphetamine use, however, Dick later said that doctors told him the amphetamines never actually affected him, that his liver had processed them before they reached his brain.[40]

Summing up all these themes in Understanding Philip K. Dick, Eric Carl Link discussed eight themes or ‘ideas and motifs’:[41] Epistemology and the Nature of Reality, Know Thyself, The Android and the Human, Entropy and Pot Healing, The Theodicy Problem, Warfare and Power Politics, The Evolved Human, and ‘Technology, Media, Drugs and Madness’.[42]

Pen names

Dick had two professional stories published under the pen names Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland. “Some Kinds of Life” was published in October 1953 in Fantastic Universe under byline Richard Phillipps, apparently because the magazine had a policy against publishing multiple stories by the same author in the same issue; “Planet for Transients” was published in the same issue under his own name.[43]

The short story “Orpheus with Clay Feet” was published under the pen name Jack Dowland. The protagonist desires to be the muse for fictional author Jack Dowland, considered the greatest science fiction author of the 20th century. In the story, Dowland publishes a short story titled “Orpheus with Clay Feet” under the pen name Philip K. Dick.

The surname Dowland refers to Renaissance composer John Dowland, who is featured in several works. The title Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said directly refers to Dowland’s best-known composition, “Flow My Tears”. In the novel The Divine Invasion, the character Linda Fox, created specifically with Linda Ronstadt in mind, is an intergalactically famous singer whose entire body of work consists of recordings of John Dowland compositions.

Selected works

The Man in the High Castle (1962) is set in an alternate history in which the United States is ruled by the victorious Axis powers. It is the only Dick novel to win a Hugo Award. Most recently this has been adapted into a television series provided by Amazon and available through Amazon Prime video.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) utilizes an array of science fiction concepts and features several layers of reality and unreality. It is also one of Dick’s first works to explore religious themes. The novel takes place in the 21st century, when, under UN authority, mankind has colonized the Solar System‘s every habitable planet and moon. Life is physically daunting and psychologically monotonous for most colonists, so the UN must draft people to go to the colonies. Most entertain themselves using “Perky Pat” dolls and accessories manufactured by Earth-based “P.P. Layouts”. The company also secretly creates “Can-D”, an illegal but widely available hallucinogenic drug allowing the user to “translate” into Perky Pat (if the drug user is a woman) or Pat’s boyfriend, Walt (if the drug user is a man). This recreational use of Can-D allows colonists to experience a few minutes of an idealized life on Earth by participating in a collective hallucination.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) is the story of a bounty hunter policing the local android population. It occurs on a dying, poisoned Earth de-populated of almost all animals and all “successful” humans; the only remaining inhabitants of the planet are people with no prospects off-world. The 1968 novel is the literary source of the film Blade Runner (1982).[44] It is both a conflation and an intensification of the pivotally Dickian question: What is real, what is fake? What crucial factor defines humanity as distinctly “alive”, versus those merely alive only in their outward appearance?

Ubik (1969) employs extensive psychic telepathy and a suspended state after death in creating a state of eroding reality. A group of psychics is sent to investigate a rival organisation, but several of them are apparently killed by a saboteur’s bomb. Much of the following novel flicks between different equally plausible realities; the “real” reality, a state of half-life and psychically manipulated realities. In 2005, Time magazine listed it among the “All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels” published since 1923.[6]

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) concerns Jason Taverner, a television star living in a dystopian near-future police state. After being attacked by an angry ex-girlfriend, Taverner awakens in a dingy Los Angeles hotel room. He still has his money in his wallet, but his identification cards are missing. This is no minor inconvenience, as security checkpoints (manned by “pols” and “nats”, the police and National Guard) are set up throughout the city to stop and arrest anyone without valid ID. Jason at first thinks that he was robbed, but soon discovers that his entire identity has been erased. There is no record of him in any official database, and even his closest associates do not recognize or remember him. For the first time in many years, Jason has no fame or reputation to rely on. He has only his innate charm and social graces to help him as he tries to find out what happened to his past while avoiding the attention of the pols. The novel was Dick’s first published novel after years of silence, during which time his critical reputation had grown, and this novel was awarded the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.[3] It is the only Philip K. Dick novel nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula Award.

In an essay written two years before his death, Dick described how he learned from his Episcopal priest that an important scene in Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – involving its other main character, the eponymous Police General Felix Buckman, was very similar to a scene in Acts of the Apostles,[28] a book of the New Testament. Film director Richard Linklater discusses this novel in his film Waking Life, which begins with a scene reminiscent of another Dick novel, Time Out of Joint.

A Scanner Darkly (1977) is a bleak mixture of science fiction and police procedural novels; in its story, an undercover narcotics police detective begins to lose touch with reality after falling victim to the same permanently mind-altering drug, Substance D, he was enlisted to help fight. Substance D is instantly addictive, beginning with a pleasant euphoria which is quickly replaced with increasing confusion, hallucinations and eventually total psychosis. In this novel, as with all Dick novels, there is an underlying thread of paranoia and dissociation with multiple realities perceived simultaneously. It was adapted to film by Richard Linklater.

The Philip K. Dick Reader[45] is an introduction to the variety of Dick’s short fiction.

VALIS (1980) is perhaps Dick’s most postmodern and autobiographical novel, examining his own unexplained experiences. It may also be his most academically studied work, and was adapted as an opera by Tod Machover.[46] Later works like the VALIS trilogy were heavily autobiographical, many with “two-three-seventy-four” (2-3-74) references and influences. The word VALIS is the acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Later, Dick theorized that VALIS was both a “reality generator” and a means of extraterrestrial communication. A fourth VALIS manuscript, Radio Free Albemuth, although composed in 1976, was posthumously published in 1985. This work is described by the publisher (Arbor House) as “an introduction and key to his magnificent VALIS trilogy”.

Regardless of the feeling that he was somehow experiencing a divine communication, Dick was never fully able to rationalize the events. For the rest of his life, he struggled to comprehend what was occurring, questioning his own sanity and perception of reality. He transcribed what thoughts he could into an eight-thousand-page, one-million-word journal dubbed the Exegesis. From 1974 until his death in 1982, Dick spent many nights writing in this journal. A recurring theme in Exegesis is Dick’s hypothesis that history had been stopped in the first century AD, and that “the Empire never ended”. He saw Rome as the pinnacle of materialism and despotism, which, after forcing the Gnostics underground, had kept the population of Earth enslaved to worldly possessions. Dick believed that VALIS had communicated with him, and anonymous others, to induce the impeachment of U.S. President Richard Nixon, whom Dick believed to be the current Emperor of Rome incarnate.

In a 1968 essay titled “Self Portrait”, collected in the 1995 book The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick, Dick reflects on his work and lists which books he feels “might escape World War Three”: Eye in the SkyThe Man in the High CastleMartian Time-SlipDr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the BombThe Zap GunThe Penultimate TruthThe SimulacraThe Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (which he refers to as “the most vital of them all”), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Ubik.[47] In a 1976 interview, Dick cited A Scanner Darkly as his best work, feeling that he “had finally written a true masterpiece, after 25 years of writing”.[48]

Adaptations

Films

Several of Dick’s stories have been made into films. Dick himself wrote a screenplay for an intended film adaptation of Ubik in 1974, but the film was never made. Many film adaptations have not used Dick’s original titles. When asked why this was, Dick’s ex-wife Tessa said, “Actually, the books rarely carry Phil’s original titles, as the editors usually wrote new titles after reading his manuscripts. Phil often commented that he couldn’t write good titles. If he could, he would have been an advertising writer instead of a novelist.”[49] Films based on Dick’s writing had accumulated a total revenue of over US $1 billion by 2009.[50]

Future films based on Dick’s writing include an animated adaptation of The King of the Elves from Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was set to be released in the spring of 2016 but is currently still in preproduction; and a film adaptation of Ubik which, according to Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, is in advanced negotiation.[53] Ubik was set to be made into a film by Michel Gondry.[54] In 2014, however, Gondry told French outlet Telerama (via Jeux Actu), that he was no longer working on the project.

The Terminator series prominently features the theme of humanoid assassination machines first portrayed in Second VarietyThe Halcyon Company, known for developing the Terminator franchise, acquired right of first refusal to film adaptations of the works of Philip K. Dick in 2007. In May 2009, they announced plans for an adaptation of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.[55]

Television

It was reported in 2010 that Ridley Scott would produce an adaptation of The Man in the High Castle for the BBC, in the form of a mini-series.[56] A pilot episode was released on Amazon Prime in January 2015 and Season 1 was fully released in ten episodes of about 60 minutes each on November 20, 2015.[57] Premiering in January 2015, the pilot was Amazon’s “most-watched since the original series development program began.” The next month Amazon ordered episodes to fill out a ten-episode season, which was released in November, to positive reviews. A second season of ten episodes premiered in December 2016, with a third season announced a few weeks later to be released in 2018.

In late 2015, Fox aired Minority Report, a television series sequel adaptation to the 2002 film of the same name based on Dick’s 1956 short story “The Minority Report“. The show was cancelled after one 10 episode season.

In May 2016, it was announced that a 10-part anthology series was in the works. Titled Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the series will be distributed by Sony Pictures Television and premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and Amazon Video in the United States.[58] It was written by executive producers Ronald D. Moore and Michael Dinner, with executive input from Dick’s daughter Isa Dick Hackett, and stars Bryan Cranston, also an executive producer.[59]

Stage and radio

Four of Dick’s works have been adapted for the stage.

One was the opera VALIS, composed and with libretto by Tod Machover, which premiered at the Pompidou Center in Paris on December 1, 1987, with a French libretto. It was subsequently revised and readapted into English, and was recorded and released on CD (Bridge Records BCD9007) in 1988.

Another was Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, adapted by Linda Hartinian and produced by the New York-based avant-garde company Mabou Mines. It premiered in Boston at the Boston Shakespeare Theatre (June 18–30, 1985) and was subsequently staged in New York and Chicago. Productions of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said were also staged by the Evidence Room [60] in Los Angeles in 1999[61] and by the Fifth Column Theatre Company at the Oval House Theatre in London in the same year.[62]

A play based on Radio Free Albemuth also had a brief run in the 1980s.

In November 2010, a production of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, adapted by Edward Einhorn, premiered at the 3LD Art and Technology Center in Manhattan.[63]

A radio drama adaptation of Dick’s short story “Mr. Spaceship” was aired by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio) in 1996 under the name Menolippu Paratiisiin. Radio dramatizations of Dick’s short stories Colony and The Defenders[64] were aired by NBC in 1956 as part of the series X Minus One.

In January 2006, a The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (English for Trzy stygmaty Palmera Eldritcha) theatre adaptation premiered in Stary Teatr in Cracov, with an extensive use of lights and laser choreography.[65][66]

In June 2014 the BBC broadcast a two part adaptation of ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’ on Radio 4, starring James Purefoy as Rick Deckard.[67]

Comics

Marvel Comics adapted Dick’s short story “The Electric Ant” as a limited series which was released in 2009. The comic was produced by writer David Mack (Daredevil) and artist Pascal Alixe (Ultimate X-Men), with covers provided by artist Paul Pope.[68] “The Electric Ant” had earlier been loosely adapted by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow in their 3-issue mini-series Hard Boiled published by Dark Horse Comics in 1990-1992.[69]

In 2009, BOOM! Studios started publishing a 24-issue miniseries comic book adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?[70] Blade Runner, the 1982 film adapted from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, had previously been adapted to comics as A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner.

In 2011, Dynamite Entertainment published a 4-issue miniseries “Total Recall,” a sequel to the 1990 film Total Recall, inspired by Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale“.[71] In 1990, DC Comics published the official adaptation of the original film as a DC Movie Special: Total Recall.[72]

Alternative formats

In response to a 1975 request from the National Library for the Blind for permission to make use of The Man in the High Castle, Dick responded, “I also grant you a general permission to transcribe any of my former, present or future work, so indeed you can add my name to your ‘general permission’ list.”[73] Some of his books and stories are available in braille and other specialized formats through the NLS.[74]

As of December 2012, thirteen of Philip K. Dick’s early works in the public domain in the United States are available in ebook form from Project Gutenberg. As of April 4, 2012, Wikisource has one of Philip K. Dick’s early works in the public domain in the United States available in ebook form which is not from Project Gutenberg.

Influence and legacy

Lawrence Sutin‘s 1989 biography of Dick, Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick, is considered the standard biographical treatment of Dick’s life.[39]

In 1993, French writer Emmanuel Carrère published Je suis vivant et vous êtes morts which was first translated and published in English in 2004 as I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, which the author describes in his preface in this way:

The book you hold in your hands is a very peculiar book. I have tried to depict the life of Philip K. Dick from the inside, in other words, with the same freedom and empathy – indeed with the same truth – with which he depicted his own characters.[32]

Critics of the book have complained about the lack of fact checking, sourcing, notes and index, “the usual evidence of deep research that gives a biography the solid stamp of authority.”[75][76][77] It can be considered a non-fiction novel about his life.

Dick has influenced many writers, including Jonathan Lethem[78] and Ursula K. Le Guin.[79] The prominent literary critic Fredric Jameson proclaimed Dick the “Shakespeare of Science Fiction”, and praised his work as “one of the most powerful expressions of the society of spectacle and pseudo-event”.[80] The author Roberto Bolaño also praised Dick, describing him as “Thoreau plus the death of the American dream”.[81] Dick has also influenced filmmakers, his work being compared to films such as the Wachowskis‘ The Matrix,[82] David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome,[83] eXistenZ,[82] and Spider,[83] Spike Jonze‘s Being John Malkovich,[83] Adaptation,[83] Michel Gondry‘s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,[84][85] Alex Proyas‘s Dark City,[82] Peter Weir‘s The Truman Show,[82] Andrew Niccol‘s Gattaca,[83]In Time,[86] Terry Gilliam‘s 12 Monkeys,[83] Alejandro Amenábar‘s Open Your Eyes,[87] David Fincher‘s Fight Club,[83] Cameron Crowe‘s Vanilla Sky,[82] Darren Aronofsky‘s Pi,[88] Richard Kelly‘s Donnie Darko[89] and Southland Tales,[90] Rian Johnson‘s Looper,[91] Duncan Jones‘ Source Code, and Christopher Nolan‘s Memento[92] and Inception.[93]

The Philip K. Dick Society was an organization dedicated to promoting the literary works of Dick and was led by Dick’s longtime friend and music journalist Paul Williams. Williams also served as Dick’s literary executor for several years after Dick’s death and wrote one of the first biographies of Dick, entitled Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick.

The Philip K. Dick estate owns and operates the production company Electric Shepherd Productions,[94] which has produced the films Adjustment Bureau (2011) and the upcoming Walt Disney Company film King of the Elves, the TV series The Man in the High Castle[95]and also a Marvel Comics 5-issue adaptation of Electric Ant.[96]

Dick was recreated by his fans in the form of a simulacrum or remote-controlled android designed in his likeness.[97][98][99] Such simulacra had been themes of many of Dick’s works. The Philip K. Dick simulacrum was included on a discussion panel in a San Diego Comic Con presentation about the film adaptation of the novel, A Scanner Darkly. In February 2006, an America West Airlines employee misplaced the android’s head, and it has not yet been found.[100] In January 2011, it was announced that Hanson Robotics had built a replacement.[101]

Film

In fiction

  • Michael Bishop‘s The Secret Ascension (1987; currently published as Philip K. Dick Is Dead, Alas), which is set in an alternative universe where his non-genre work is published but his science fiction is banned by a totalitarian United States in thrall to a demonically possessed Richard Nixon.
  • The Faction Paradox novel Of the City of the Saved… (2004) by Philip Purser-Hallard
  • The short story “The Transmigration of Philip K” (1984) by Michael Swanwick (to be found in the 1991 collection Gravity’s Angels)
  • In Ursula K. Le Guin‘s 1971 novel The Lathe of Heaven, whose characters alter reality through their dreams. Two made-for-TV films based on the novel have been made: The Lathe of Heaven (1980) and Lathe of Heaven (2002)
  • In Thomas M. Disch‘s The Word of God (2008)[113]
  • The comics magazine Weirdo published “The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick” by artist R. Crumb in 1986. Though this is not an adaptation of a specific book or story by Dick, it incorporates elements of Dick’s experience which he related in short stories, novels, essays, and the Exegesis. The story parodies the form of a Chick tract, a type of evangelical comic, many of which relate the story of an epiphany leading to a conversion to fundamentalist Christianity.
  • In the Batman Beyond episode “Sentries of the Last Cosmos”, the character Eldon Michaels claims a typewriter on his desk to have belonged to Philip K. Dick.
  • In the 1976 alternate history novel The Alteration by Kingsley Amis, one of the novels-within-a-novel depicted is The Man in the High Castle (mirroring The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in the real-life novel), still written by Philip K. Dick.[114] Instead of the novel being set in 1962 in an alternate universe where the Axis Powers won the Second World War and named for Hawthorne Abendsen, the author of its novel-within-a-novel, it depicts an alternate universe where the Protestant Reformation occurred (events including the continuation of Henry VIII’s Schismatic policies by his son, Henry IX, and the creation of an independent North America in 1848), with one character speculating that the titular character was a wizard.
  • In the Japanese science fiction anime Psycho-Pass, Dick’s works are referred to as recommended reading material to help reflect on the current state of affairs of those characters world.
  • The 2016 video game Californium was developed as a tribute to Philip K. Dick and his writings to coincide with an Arte‘s documentary series.[115]
  • The short film trilogy Code 7 written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo starts with the line “Philip K. Dick presents”. The story also contains some other references to Philip K. Dick’s body of work.[116]

Music

  • “Flow My Tears” is the name of an instrumental by bassist Stuart Hamm, inspired by Dick’s novel of the same name. The track is found on his album Radio Free Albemuth, also named after a Dick novel.[117]
  • “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” and other seminal Ph. K. Dick novels inspired the electronic music concept album “The Dowland Shores of Philip K. Dick’s Universe[118] by Levente
  • “Flow My Tears the Spider Said” is the final song on They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, the second album by experimental Los Angeles punk-rock outfit Liars.
  • “Listen to the Sirens”, the first song on Tubeway Army‘s 1978 debut album has as its first line “flow my tears, the new police song”.
  • American rapper and producer El-P is a noted fan of Dick and other science fiction, as many of Dick’s themes, such as paranoia and questions about the nature of reality, feature in El-P’s work.[119] A song on the 2002 album Fantastic Damage is titled “T.O.J.” and the chorus makes reference to the Dick work Time Out of Joint.
  • English singer Hugh Cornwell included an instrumental called “Philip K. Ridiculous” on his 2008 album “Hooverdam”.[120]
  • The World/Inferno Friendship Society‘s 2011 album The Anarchy and the Ecstasy includes a song entitled “Canonize Philip K. Dick, OK”.
  • Bloc Party‘s 2012 album Four contains several references to Dick’s work, including a song entitled “V.A.L.I.S.”.
  • German singer Pohlmann included a song called “Roy Batty (In Tribute to Philip K. Dick)” on his 2013 album Nix ohne Grund.
  • Sister, a Sonic Youth album, “was in part inspired by the life and works of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick”.[121]
  • “What You See” is a song by Faded Paper Figures that pays homage to the literary work of Dick.
  • The first song on Japancakes‘ debut album If I Could See Dallas is titled ‘Now Wait For Last Year’.
  • Janelle Monáe‘s song “Make the Bus” in her album The ArchAndroid has the lyrics “You’ve got ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ under your pillow” at the end of the first stanza.
  • Blind Guardian‘s song “Time What is Time” from the 1992 album “Somewhere Far Beyond” is loosely based on the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”.[122]

Radio

  • In June 2014, BBC Radio 4 broadcast The Two Georges by Stephen Keyworth, inspired by the FBI’s investigation of Phil and his wife Kleo in 1955, and the subsequent friendship that developed between Phil and FBI Agent Scruggs.[123]

Theater

  • The short play Kindred Blood in Kensington Gore (1992) by Brian W. Aldiss
  • A 2005 play, 800 Words: the Transmigration of Philip K. Dick by Victoria Stewart, which re-imagines Dick’s final days.[124]

Contemporary philosophy

Postmodernists such as Jean BaudrillardFredric JamesonLaurence Rickels and Slavoj Žižek have commented on Dick’s writing’s foreshadowing of postmodernity.[125] Jean Baudrillard offers this interpretation:

It is hyperreal. It is a universe of simulation, which is something altogether different. And this is so not because Dick speaks specifically of simulacra. SF has always done so, but it has always played upon the double, on artificial replication or imaginary duplication, whereas here the double has disappeared. There is no more double; one is always already in the other world, an other world which is not another, without mirrors or projection or utopias as means for reflection. The simulation is impassable, unsurpassable, checkmated, without exteriority. We can no longer move “through the mirror” to the other side, as we could during the golden age of transcendence.[126]

For his anti-government skepticism, Philip K. Dick was afforded minor mention in Mythmakers and Lawbreakers, a collection of interviews about fiction by anarchist authors. Noting his early authorship of The Last of the Masters, an anarchist-themed novelette, author Margaret Killjoy expressed that while Dick never fully sided with anarchism, his opposition to government centralization and organized religion has influenced anarchist interpretations of gnosticism.[127]

Awards and honors

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Dick in 2005.[128]

During his lifetime he received numerous annual literary awards and nominations for particular works.[129]

Philip K. Dick Award

The Philip K. Dick Award is a science fiction award that annually recognizes the previous year’s best SF paperback original published in the U.S.[135] It is conferred at Norwescon, sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, and since 2005 supported by the Philip K. Dick Trust. Winning works are identified on their covers as Best Original SF Paperback. It is currently administered by David G. Hartwell and Gordon Van Gelder.[135]

The award was inaugurated in 1983, the year after Dick’s death. It was founded by Thomas Disch with assistance from David G. Hartwell, Paul S. Williams, and Charles N. Brown. Past administrators include Algis J. Budrys and David Alexander Smith.[citation needed]

See also

References

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  3. Jump up to:abcd “1975 Award Winners & Nominees”Worlds Without End. Retrieved June 26, 2009.
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  7. Jump up^ Stoffman, Judy “A milestone in literary heritage”Toronto Star(February 10, 2007) Archived October 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
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Further reading

Primary bibliography
  • Precious Artifacts : A Philip K. Dick Bibliography, United States of America and United Kingdom Editions, 1955 – 2012. Compiled by Henri Wintz and David Hyde. (Wide Books 2012). http://www.wide-books.com
  • Precious Artifacts 2: A Philip K. Dick Bibliography, The Short Stories, United States, United Kingdom and Oceania, 1952 – 2014. Compiled by Henri Wintz and David Hyde (Wide Books 2014). http://www.wide-books.com
Secondary bibliography

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick

 

Ridley Scott

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Sir
Ridley Scott
NASA Journey to Mars and “The Martian" (201508180030HQ).jpg

Scott in 2015
Born 30 November 1937 (age 80)
South ShieldsCounty DurhamEngland
Residence LondonEnglandUnited Kingdom
Paris, France
Los Angeles, CaliforniaUnited States
Alma mater West Hartlepool College of Art
Royal College of Art
Occupation
  • Film director
  • film producer
Years active 1965–present
Spouse(s)
Felicity Heywood
(m. 1964; div. 1975)
Sandy Watson
(m. 1979; div. 1989)
Giannina Facio
(m. 2015)
Children Jake Scott
Luke Scott
Jordan Scott
Family Tony Scott (brother; deceased)

Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer. Following his commercial breakthrough with the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), further works include the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner, historical drama Gladiator (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), and science fiction film The Martian.

Scott’s work has an atmospheric, highly concentrated visual style.[1][2] Though his films range widely in setting and period, they frequently showcase memorable imagery of urban environments, whether 2nd century Rome (Gladiator), 12th century Jerusalem (Kingdom of Heaven), Medieval England (Robin Hood), contemporary Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down), the future cityscapes of Blade Runner, or the distant planets in AlienPrometheusThe Martian and Alien: Covenant. His films are also known for their strong female characters.[3]

Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing (for Thelma & LouiseGladiator and Black Hawk Down).[1] In 1995, both Ridley and his brother Tony received a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.[4] In 2003, Scott was knighted for his “services to the British film industry”.[5] In a 2004 BBC poll Scott was named the tenth most influential person in British culture.[6] In 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. In 2018 Scott received the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement.[7]

Early life and career

“My mum brought three boys up: my dad was in the army and so he was frequently away. During the war (World War II) and post-war, we tended to travel following him around so my mum was the boss. She laid down the law and the law was God. We just said ‘Yup, okay’ – we didn’t argue. I think that’s where the respect has come from, because she was tough.”

— A supporter of heroines in his work, Scott credits his mother Elizabeth as his first female role model.[8]

Scott was born in South Shields, County Durham, North East England,[9] to Elizabeth (Williams) and Colonel Francis Percy Scott.[10][11] Born shortly before the Second World War, he was brought up in an army family. His father – an officer in the Royal Engineers – was absent for most of his early life. His elder brother, Frank, joined the British Merchant Navy when he was still young, and the pair had little contact.[12] During this time the family moved around, living in (among other areas) Cumberland in North West England, Wales and Germany. He had a younger brother, Tony, who also became a film director. After World War II, the Scott family moved back to their native North East, eventually settling on Greens Beck Road in Hartburn, County Durham, whose industrial landscape would later inspire similar scenes in Blade Runner.[13] His interest in science fiction began by reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child.[14]He studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design.[15]

“I use everything I learned every day at art school. It’s all about white sheets of paper, pens and drawing.”

— Scott speaking on the influence the Royal College of Art has had in designing the visuals for his films.[16]

Scott went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, contributing to college magazine ARKand helping to establish the college film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, Boy and Bicycle, starring both his younger brother and his father (the film was later released on the “Extras” section of The Duellists DVD). In February 1963 Scott was named in title credits as “Designer” for the BBC television programme Tonight, about the severe winter of 1963. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series Z-Cars and science fiction series Out of the Unknown. He was originally assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the serial’s eponymous alien creatures. However, shortly before Scott was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced by Raymond Cusick.[17] In 1965, he began directing episodes of television series for the BBC, only one of which, an episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, is available commercially.[18]

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury in the English county of Dorset where Scott filmed the 1973 Hovis television commercial

In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company.[19] Working alongside Alan ParkerHugh Hudson and cinematographer Hugh Johnson, Ridley Scott made many commercials at RSA during the 1970s, including a notable 1973 Hovis advertisement, “Bike Round” (underscored by the slow movement of Dvořák’s “New World” symphony rearranged for brass), set in the north of England but filmed in Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset.[20][21] A nostalgia themed television advertisement that captured the public imagination, it was voted the UK’s all-time favourite commercial in a 2006 poll.[22][23] In the 1970s the Chanel No. 5brand needed revitalisation having run the risk of being labelled as mass market and passé.[24] Directed by Scott in the 1970s and 1980s, Chanel television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction, which “played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle.”[24]

Five members of the Scott family are directors, and all have worked for RSA.[25] His brother Tony was a successful film director whose career spanned more than two decades; his sons Jake and Luke are both acclaimed directors of commercials, as is his daughter, Jordan Scott. Jake and Jordan both work from Los Angeles; Luke is based in London. In 1995, Shepperton Studios was purchased by a consortium headed by Ridley and Tony Scott, which extensively renovated the studios while also expanding and improving its grounds.[26]

Early films

The Duellists

The Duellists (1977) marked Ridley Scott’s first feature film as director. Shot in Europe, it was nominated for the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and won an award for Best Debut Film. The Duellists had limited commercial impact internationally. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it follows two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud (Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel) whose quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter extended feud spanning fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. The film has been acclaimed for providing a historically authentic portrayal of Napoleonic uniforms and military conduct.[27][28] The 2013 release of the film on Blu-ray coincided with the publication of an essay on the film in a collection of scholarly essays on Scott.[29]

Alien

Scott had originally planned next to adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing Star Wars, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He accepted the job of directing Alien, the 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would win him international success. Scott made the decision to switch Ellen Ripley from the standard male action hero to a heroine.[30] Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon.[30] The final scene of John Hurt‘s character has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.[31] Filmed at Shepperton Studios in England, Alien was the sixth highest-grossing film of 1979, earning over $104 million worldwide.[32] Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the original film. In promotional interviews at the time, Scott indicated he had been in discussions to make a fifth film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 2006 interview, Scott remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director’s Cut, feeling that the original was “pretty flawless” and that the additions were merely a marketing tool.[33] Scott later returned to Alien-related projects when he directed Prometheus and Alien: Covenant three decades after the original film’s release.[34]

Blade Runner

“Outside Star Wars, no sci-fi universe has been etched into cinematic consciousness more thoroughly than Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s definitive 1982 neo-noir offered an immersive dystopia of rain-soaked windows and shadowy buildings adorned with animated neon billboards, where flying cars hum through the endless night.”

— Eric Kohn, IndieWire, 2017.[35]

After a year working on the film adaptation of Dune, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick‘s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Re-titled Blade Runner and starring Harrison Ford, the film was a commercial disappointment in cinemas in 1982, but is now regarded as a classic.[36][37] In 1991, Scott’s notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed director’s cut which removed the main character’s voiceover and made a number of other small changes, including to the ending. Later Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved what was called The Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release in December 2007.[38]

Today, Blade Runner is ranked by many critics as one of the most important and influential science fiction films ever made,[39] partly thanks to its much imitated portraits of a future cityscape.[40] It is often discussed along with William Gibson‘s novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott has described Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”.[41]

“1984” Apple Macintosh commercial

In 1984, Scott directed a big-budget ($900,000) television commercial, “1984“, to launch Apple‘s Macintosh computer.[42] Scott filmed the advertisement in England for about $370,000;[43] which was given a showcase airing in the US on 22 January 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, alongside screenings in cinemas.[44] Some consider this advertisement a “watershed event” in advertising[45] and a “masterpiece”.[46] Advertising Age placed it top of its list of the 50 greatest commercials.[47]

Set in a dystopian future modelled after George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Scott’s advertisement used its heroine (portrayed by English athlete Anya Major) to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top adorned with a picture of the Apple Macintosh computer) as a means of saving humanity from “conformity” (Big Brother), an allusion to IBM, at that time the dominant force in computing.[48]

Legend

In 1985, Scott directed Legend, a fantasy film produced by Arnon Milchan. Scott decided to create a “once upon a time” tale set in a world of princesses, unicorns and goblins, filming almost entirely inside the studio. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film’s hero, Jack, Mia Saraas Princess Lili and Tim Curry as the Satan-horned Lord of Darkness.[49] Scott had a forest set built on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, with trees 60 feet high and trunks 30 feet in diameter.[50] In the final stages of filming, the forest set was destroyed by fire; Jerry Goldsmith‘s original score was used for European release, but replaced in North America with a score by Tangerine Dream. Rob Bottin provided the film’s Academy Award-nominated make-up effects, most notably Curry’s red-coloured Satan figure. Though a major commercial failure on release, the film has gone on to become a cult classic. The 2002 Director’s Cut restored Goldsmith’s original score.[51]

Subsequent films

1987–1992

Scott made Someone to Watch Over Me, a romantic thriller starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers in 1987, and Black Rain (1989), a police drama starring Michael Douglas and Andy García, shot partially in Japan. Both achieved mild success at the box office. Black Rain was the first of Scott’s six collaborations with the composer Hans Zimmer.[52][53]

The road film Thelma & Louise (1991) starring Geena Davis as Thelma, Susan Sarandon as Louise, in addition to the breakthrough role for Brad Pitt as J.D, proved to be one of Scott’s biggest critical successes, helping revive the director’s reputation and receiving his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director.[54][55] His next project, independently-funded historical epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, was a box office failure. The film recounts the expeditions to the Americas by Christopher Columbus (French star Gérard Depardieu). Scott did not release another film for four years.

1993–1999

In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tony formed a production company, Scott Free Productions, in Los Angeles. All Ridley’s subsequent feature films, starting with White Squall and G.I. Jane, have been produced under the Scott Free banner. In 1995 the two brothers purchased a controlling interest in the British film studio Shepperton Studios. In 2001, Shepperton merged with Pinewood Studios to become The Pinewood Studios Group, which is headquartered in Buckinghamshire, England.[56]

2000–2005

Scott’s historical drama Gladiator (2000) proved to be one of his biggest critical and commercial successes. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for the film’s star Russell Crowe, and saw Scott nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.[1] Scott worked with British visual effects company The Mill for the film’s computer-generated imagery, and the film was dedicated to Oliver Reed who died during filming – The Mill created a digital body double for Reed’s remaining scenes.[57][58] Some have credited Gladiator with reviving the nearly defunct “sword and sandal” historical genre. The film was named the fifth best action film of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time.[59]

Scott directed Hannibal (2001) starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. The film was commercially successful despite receiving mixed reviews. Scott’s next film, Black Hawk Down (2001), featuring Tom Hardy in his film debut, was based on a group of stranded US soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia; Scott was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director.[1] In 2003, Scott directed a smaller scale project, Matchstick Men, adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and starring Nicolas CageSam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It received mostly positive reviews, but performed moderately at the box office.

In 2005, he made the modestly successful Kingdom of Heaven, a film about the Crusades. The film starred Orlando Bloom, and marked Scott’s first collaboration with the composer Harry Gregson-Williams.[60] The Moroccan government sent the Moroccan cavalry as extras for some battle scenes.[61] Unhappy with the theatrical version of Kingdom of Heaven (which he blamed on paying too much attention to the opinions of preview audiences in addition to relenting when Fox wanted 45 minutes shaved off), Scott supervised a director’s cut of the film, the true version of what he wanted, which was released on DVD in 2006.[62] The director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven has been met with critical acclaim, with Empire magazine calling the film an “epic”, adding: “The added 45 minutes in the director’s cut are like pieces missing from a beautiful but incomplete puzzle.”[63] “This is the one that should have gone out” reflected Scott.[63] Asked if he was against previewing in general in 2006, Scott stated: “It depends who’s in the driving seat. If you’ve got a lunatic doing my job, then you need to preview. But a good director should be experienced enough to judge what he thinks is the correct version to go out into the cinema.”[64]

Recent and upcoming films

2006–2011

Scott teamed up again with Gladiator star Russell Crowe, for A Good Year, based on the best-selling book by Peter Mayle about an investment banker who finds a new life in Provence. The film was released on 10 November 2006. A few days later Rupert Murdoch, chairman of studio 20th Century Fox (who backed the film) dismissed A Good Year as “a flop” at a shareholders’ meeting.[65]

Scott’s next film was American Gangster, based on the story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas. Scott took over the project in early 2006, and had screenwriter Steven Zaillian rewrite his script to focus on the dynamic between Frank Lucas and Richie RobertsDenzel Washington signed on to the project as Lucas, with Russell Crowe co-starring. The film premiered in November 2007 to positive reviews and box office success, and Scott was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director.[1]

In late 2008, Scott’s espionage thriller Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, opened to lukewarm ticket-sales and mixed reviews. Scott directed a revisionist adaptation of Robin Hood, which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchettas Maid Marian. It was released in May 2010 to mixed reviews, but a respectable box-office.

Scott speaking with Prometheusstars Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender at Wondercon 2012 in Anaheim, California on 17 March 2012

On 31 July 2009, news surfaced of a two-part prequel to Alien with Scott attached to direct.[34][66] The project, ultimately reduced to a single film called Prometheus, which Scott described as sharing “strands of Alien’s DNA” while not being a direct prequel, was released in June 2012. The film starred Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, with Noomi Rapace playing the leading role of the scientist named Elizabeth Shaw. The film received mostly positive reviews and grossed $403 million at the box office.[67][68]

In August 2009, Scott planned to direct an adaptation of Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World set in a dystopian London with Leonardo DiCaprio.[69] In 2009, the TV Series The Good Wife premiered with Ridley and his brother Tonycredited as executive producers. On 6 July 2010, YouTube announced the launch of Life in a Day, an experimental documentary executive produced by Scott. Released at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2011, it incorporates footage shot on 24 July 2010 submitted by YouTube users from around the world.[70] As part of the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, Scott produced Britain in a Day, a documentary film consisting of footage shot by the British public on 12 November 2011.[71]

2012–present

In 2012, Scott produced the commercial for Lady Gaga‘s fragrance, “Fame.” It was touted as the first ever black Eau de Parfum, in the informal credits attached to the trailer for this advertisement. On 24 June 2013, Scott’s series Crimes of the Century debuted on CNN.[72] In November 2012 it was announced that Scott would produce the documentary, Springsteen & I directed by Baillie Walsh and inspired by Life in a Day, which Scott also produced. The film featured fan footage from throughout the world on what musician Bruce Springsteen meant to them and how he impacted their lives.[73] The film was released for one day only in 50 countries and on over 2000 film screens on 22 July 2013.[73]

Scott directed The Counselor (2013), with a screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy.[74][75] On 25 October 2013, Indiewire reported that “Before McCarthy sold his first spec script for Scott’s (Counselor) film, the director was heavily involved in developing an adaptation of the author’s 1985 novel Blood Meridian with screenwriter Bill Monahan (The Departed). But as Scott said in a Time Out interview, ‘[Studios] didn’t want to make it. The book is so uncompromising, which is what’s great about it.’ Described as an ‘anti-western’…”[76] Scott directed the biblically-inspired epic film Exodus: Gods and Kings, released in December 2014 which received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics while earning $268 million on a $140 million budget. Filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, the film starred Christian Bale in the lead role.[77]

Scott participates in a question and answer session about NASA’s journey to Mars and his film The Martian, 18 August 2015

In May 2014, Scott began negotiations to direct The Martian, starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney.[78] Like many of Scott’s previous works, The Martian features a heroine in the form of Jessica Chastain‘s character who is the mission commander.[79] The film was originally scheduled for release on 25 November 2015, but Fox later switched its release date with that of Victor Frankenstein, and thus The Martian was released on 2 October 2015.[80][81] The Martian was a critical and commercial success, grossed over $630 million worldwide, becoming Scott’s highest-grossing film to date.[82][83][84]

A sequel to PrometheusAlien: Covenant, started filming in 2016, premiered in London on 4 May 2017, and received general release on 19 May 2017.[85] The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising Michael Fassbender‘s dual performance and calling the film a return to form for both director Ridley Scott and the franchise.[86][87]

In August 2011, information leaked about production of a sequel to Blade Runner by Alcon Entertainment, with Alcon partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.[88] Scott informed the Variety publication in November 2014 that he was no longer the director for the film and would only fulfill a producer’s role. Scott also revealed that filming would begin sometime within 2015, and that Harrison Ford has signed on to reprise his role from the original film but his character should only appear in “the third act” of the sequel.[89] On 26 February 2015, the sequel was officially confirmed, with Denis Villeneuve hired to direct the film, and Scott being an executive producer.[90] The sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was released on 6 October 2017.[91]

From May to August 2017, Scott filmed All the Money in the World, a drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, starring Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams.[92][93] Kevin Spacey originally portrayed Getty Sr. However, after multiple sexual assault allegations against the actor, Scott made the decision to replace him with Christopher Plummer, saying “You can’t condone that kind of behaviour in any shape or form. We cannot let one person’s action affect the good work of all these other people. It’s that simple.”[94] Scott began re-shooting Spacey’s scenes with Plummer on 20 November, which included filming at Elveden Hall in west Suffolk, England.[94] With a release date of 25 December 2017, the film studio had its doubts that Scott would manage it, saying: “They were like, ‘You’ll never do it. God be with you.'”[94][95]

Future projects

In January 2016, Scott was in early negotiations to direct the screen version of the 1968 British TV series The Prisoner.[96] In May 2016, it was announced that Scott and Drew Goddard (who had worked together on The Martian) would be reteaming to adapt the book Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler. It is described as a piece of fiction that combines elements of “horror, noir, and Asian ultra-violence.”[97] In April 2017, 20th Century Fox lined up Scott to direct a film about the Battle of Britain from WWII, where the Royal Air Force defended the country from German Luftwaffe attacks, which is described as a “passion project” for the director.[98] Scott has said that a sequel to Alien: Covenant would film 14 months from May 2017. It will be the final film in his prequel series to his original film, Alien.[99] As of September 2018 there has been no update on the film development. On 4 January 2018, it was reported that Scott is in talks to direct a Disney film adaptation of The Merlin Saga, which is based on a 12-book series written by T. A. Barron, with a screenplay from Philippa Boyens.[100] On 15 March it was reported that Scott is in talks to adapt Greg Rucka’s graphic novel Queen & Country for 20th Century Fox.[101]

Television projects

Ridley Scott and his brother Tony produced CBS series Numb3rs (2005–10), a crime drama about a genius mathematician who helps the FBI solve crimes; and The Good Wife (2009–2016), a legal drama about an attorney balancing her job with her husband, a former state attorney trying to rebuild his political career after a major scandal. The two Scotts also produced a 2010 film adaptation of 1980s television show The A-Team, directed by Joe Carnahan.[102][103]

Ridley Scott was an executive producer of the first season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle (2015–16).[104] Through Scott Free Productions, he is an executive producer on the dark comic science-fiction series BrainDead which debuted on CBS in 2016.[105][106][107]

On 20 November 2017, Amazon struck a deal with AMC Studios for a worldwide release of The Terror, Scott’s series adaptation of Dan Simmons’ novel, a speculative retelling of British explorer Sir John Franklin‘s lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic in 1845–1848 to force the Northwest Passage, with elements of horror and supernatural fiction), with the series set for release in 2018.[108][109]

Personal life

Scott with his partner Giannina Facio at the world premiere of The Martian held at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2015

Ridley Scott was married to Felicity Heywood from 1964 to 1975. The couple had two sons, Jake and Luke, both of whom work as directors on Scott’s production company, Ridley Scott Associates. Scott later married advertising executive Sandy Watson in 1979, with whom he had a daughter, Jordan Scott, and divorced in 1989.[110] His current partner is actress Giannina Facio,[111] whom he has cast in all his films since White Squall except American Gangster and The Martian.[112] He divides his time between homes in London, France, and Los Angeles.[77]

His eldest brother Frank died, aged 45, of skin cancer in 1980.[113] His younger brother Tony, who was also his business partner in their company Scott Free, died on 19 August 2012 at the age of 68 after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge which spans Los Angeles Harbor, after an originally disputed long struggle with cancer.[114] Before Tony’s death, he and Ridley collaborated on a miniseries based on Robin Cook‘s novel, Coma for A&E. The two-part miniseries premiered on A&E on 3 September 2012, to mixed reviews.[115] In 2013, Ridley stated that he is an atheist.[116]

Ridley has dedicated several of his films in memory of his family: Blade Runner to his brother Frank, Black Hawk Down to his mother, and The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings to his brother Tony.[117] Ridley also paid tribute to his late brother Tony at the 2016 Golden Globes, after his film, The Martian, won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.[118]

When asked by the BBC in a September 2014 interview if he believes in God, Scott replied:

I’m not sure. I think there’s all kinds of questions raised… that’s such an exotic question. If we looked at the whole thing practically speaking, the big bang occurred and then we go through this evolution of millions, billions of years where, by coincidence, all the right biological accidents came out the right way. To an extent, that doesn’t make sense unless there was a controlling decider or mediator in all of that. So who was that? Or what was that? Are we one big grand experiment in the basic overall blink of the universe, or the galaxy? In which case, who is behind it? Maybe we’re an experiment which can last a billion years, but which is a blink in their terms and they can then say: ‘Right that didn’t work, let’s blow them up!’[119]

Approach and style

Appearing in the lead role in Scott’s Gladiator and Robin HoodRussell Crowe commented, “I like being on Ridley’s set because actors can perform […] and the focus is on the performers.”[120] Paul M. Sammon, in his book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, commented in an interview with Brmovie.com that Scott’s relationship with his actors has improved considerably over the years.[121] More recently during the filming of Scott’s 2012 film, PrometheusCharlize Theron praised the director’s willingness to listen to suggestions from the cast for improvements in the way their characters are portrayed on screen. Theron worked alongside the writers and Scott to give more depth to her character during filming.[122]

Scott’s work is identified for its striking visuals, with heroines also a common theme.[1][3][8][123] His visual style, incorporating a detailed approach to production design and innovative, atmospheric lighting, has been influential on a subsequent generation of filmmakers.[1][2]Scott commonly uses slow pacing until the action sequences. Examples include Alien and Blade Runner; the LA Times critic Sheila Benson, for example, would call the latter “Blade Crawler” “because it’s so damn slow”. Another technique he employs is use of sound or music to build tension, as heard in Alien, with hissing steam, beeping computers and the noise of the machinery in the space ship. Scott claims to have an eidetic memory, which he says aids him in visualising and storyboarding the scenes in his films.[124]

Scott has developed a method for filming intricate shots as swiftly as possible: “I like working, always, with a minimum of three cameras. […] So those 50 set-ups [a day] might only be 25 set-ups except I’m covering in the set-up. So you’re finished. I mean, if you take a little bit more time to prep on three cameras, or if it’s a big stunt, eleven cameras, and – whilst it may take 45 minutes to set up – then when you’re ready you say ‘Action!’, and you do three takes, two takes and is everybody happy? You say, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ So you move on.”[120]

Artificial intelligence is a unifying theme throughout Scott’s career as a director, particularly in Blade RunnerAlien, and Prometheus.[125] The recent book The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott identifies Alan Turing and John Searle, a professor at the University of California, as presenting relevant models of testing artificial intelligence known as the Turing test and the Chinese Room Thought Experiment, respectively, in the chapter titled “What’s Wrong with Building Replicants,” which has been a recurring theme for many of Scott’s films.[126] The chapter titled “Artificial Intelligence in Blade RunnerAlien, and Prometheus,” concludes by citing the writings of John Stuart Mill in the context of Scott’s Nexus-6 Replicants in Blade Runner (Rutger Hauer), the android Ash (Ian Holm) in Alien, and the android David 8 (Michael Fassbender) in Prometheus, where Mill is applied to assert that measures and tests of intelligence must also assess actions and moral behaviour in androids to effectively address the themes which Scott explores in these films.[127]

DVD format and Director’s Cut

Scott is known for his enthusiasm for the DVD format, providing audio commentaries and interviews for all his films where possible. In the July 2006 issue of Total Film magazine, he stated: “After all the work we go through, to have it run in the cinema and then disappear forever is a great pity. To give the film added life is really cool for both those who missed it and those who really loved it.”[64]

Running alongside his enthusiasm for DVD, Scott is known for his use of the director’s cut.[63] The positive reaction to the Blade Runner Director’s Cut encouraged Scott to re-cut several movies that were a disappointment at the time of their release (including Legend and Kingdom of Heaven), which have been met with great acclaim.[63] Today the practice of alternative cuts is more commonplace, though often as a way to make a film stand out in the DVD marketplace by adding new material.

Filmography and box office performance

Date Movie Studio United States gross[82] Worldwide gross[82] Theatres[82] Opening weekend[82] Opening theatres Budget
1977 The Duellists Par. $900,000
1979 Alien Fox $80,931,801 $104,931,801 757 $3,527,881 91 $11,000,000
1982 Blade Runner WB $32,768,670 $33,139,618 1,325 $6,150,002 1,295 $28,000,000
1985 Legend Uni. $15,502,112 $23,506,237 1,187 $4,261,154 1,187 $24,500,000
1987 Someone to Watch Over Me Col. $10,278,549 $10,278,549 894 $2,908,796 892 $17,000,000
1989 Black Rain Par. $46,212,055 $134,212,055 1,760 $9,677,102 1,610 $30,000,000
1991 Thelma & Louise MGM $45,360,915 1,180 $6,101,297 1,179 $16,500,000
1992 1492: Conquest of Paradise Par. $7,191,399 $59,000,000 1,008 $3,002,680 1,008 $47,000,000
1996 White Squall BV $10,292,300 $10,292,300 1,524 $3,908,514 1,524 $38,000,000
1997 G.I. Jane BV $48,169,156 $97,169,156 2,043 $11,094,241 1,945 $50,000,000
2000 Gladiator DW $187,705,427 $457,640,427 3,188 $34,819,017 2,938 $103,000,000
2001 Hannibal MGM $165,092,268 $351,692,268 3,292 $58,003,121 3,230 $87,000,000
2001 Black Hawk Down Col. $108,638,745 $172,989,651 3,143 $179,823 4 $92,000,000
2003 Matchstick Men WB $36,906,460 $65,565,672 2,711 $13,087,307 2,711 $65,000,000
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Fox $47,398,413 $211,652,051 3,219 $19,635,996 3,216 $130,000,000
2006 A Good Year Fox $7,459,300 $42,056,466 2,067 $3,721,526 2,066 $35,000,000
2007 American Gangster Uni. $130,164,645 $265,697,825 3,110 $43,565,115 3,054 $100,000,000
2008 Body of Lies WB $39,394,666 $115,321,950 2,714 $12,884,416 2,710 $70,000,000
2010 Robin Hood Uni. $105,269,730 $321,669,730 3,505 $36,063,385 3,503 $200,000,000
2012 Prometheus Fox $126,477,084 $403,354,469 3,442 $51,050,101 3,396 $130,000,000
2013 The Counselor Fox $16,973,715 $70,237,649 3,044 $7,842,930 3,044 $25,000,000
2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings Fox $65,014,513 $268,031,828 3,503 $24,115,934 3,503 $140,000,000
2015 The Martian Fox $228,433,663 $630,161,890 3,854 $54,308,575 3,831 $108,000,000
2017 Alien: Covenant Fox $74,262,031 $240,745,764 3,772 $36,160,621 3,761 $97,000,000
2017 All the Money in the World TriS $25,113,707 $55,624,282 2,123 $5,584,684 2,074 $50,000,000

Recurring collaborators

Accolades

Sir Ridley Scott, Honorary Doctor, at the Royal College of Art, July 2015

Scott was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2003 New Year Honours for services to the British film industry.[128] He received his accolade from Queen Elizabeth II at a investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 8 July 2003.[5]Scott admitted feeling “stunned and truly humbled” after the ceremony, saying, “As a boy growing up in South Shields, I could never have imagined that I would receive such a special recognition. I am truly humbled to receive this treasured award and believe it also further recognises the excellence of the British film industry.”[129]

He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for DirectingThelma & LouiseGladiator and Black Hawk Down—as well as a Golden Globe, BAFTA and 2 Primetime Emmy Awards. In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tonyreceived the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.[4] In 2018 he received the highest accolade from BAFTA, the BAFTA Fellowship, for lifetime achievement.[7]

Scott was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007.[130] In 2017 the German newspaper FAZ compared Scott’s influence on the science fiction film genre to Sir Alfred Hitchcock‘s on thrillers and John Ford‘s on Westerns.[131] In 2011, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[132]

In 2012, Scott was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires to mark his 80th birthday.[133] On 3 July 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London at which he described how he still keeps on his office wall his school report placing him 31st out of 31 in his class, and how his teacher encouraged him to pursue what became his passion at art school.[134][135]

Association Year Category Nominated work Result
Academy Awards 1992 Best Director Thelma & Louise Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2002 Black Hawk Down Nominated
2016 Best Picture The Martian Nominated
American Film Institute 2002 Director of the Year Black Hawk Down Nominated
Movie of the Year Nominated
BAFTA 1992 Best Director Thelma & Louise Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2016 The Martian Nominated
1992 Best Film Thelma & Louise Nominated
2008 American Gangster Nominated
1995 Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema Won
2018 BAFTA Fellowship Won
Cannes 1977 Best Debut Film Award The Duellists Won
Palme d’Or Nominated
Directors Guild of America 1992 Best Director – Motion Picture Thelma & Louise Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2002 Black Hawk Down Nominated
2016 The Martian Nominated
2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Emmy Awards 2000 Outstanding Made for Television Movie RKO 281 Nominated
2002 The Gathering Storm Won
2008 Outstanding Miniseries The Andromeda Strain Nominated
2009 Outstanding Made for Television Movie Into the Storm Nominated
2010 Outstanding Drama Series The Good Wife Nominated
2011 Nominated
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie The Pillars of the Earth Nominated
Outstanding Nonfiction Special Gettysburg Won
2014 Outstanding Television Movie Killing Kennedy Nominated
2015 Killing Jesus Nominated
Golden Globe Awards 2001 Best Director – Motion Picture Gladiator Nominated
2008 American Gangster Nominated
2016 The Martian Nominated
2018 All the Money in the World Nominated
2016 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy The Martian Won
National Board of Review 2015 Best Director The Martian Won
Saturn Awards 1980 Best Director Alien Won
Best Science Fiction film Won
1983 Best Director Blade Runner Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2004 The George Pal Memorial Award Won
2016 Best Director The Martian Won
Satellite Awards 2001 Best Director Gladiator Nominated
2016 The Martian Nominated
Visual Effects Society 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Won

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  86. Jump up^ Chang, Justin (2017-05-17). “Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a sleek, suspenseful return to form”Los Angeles TimesISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  87. Jump up^ Alien: Covenant” Film Review: Ridley Scott Returns to Form With Chest-Bursting Thrills”. The Tracking Board. 2017-05-07. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  88. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott To Direct New ‘Blade Runner’ Installment For Alcon Entertainment”. Deadline New York. 19 August 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  89. Jump up^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (25 November 2014). “Ridley Scott won’t direct ‘Blade Runner’ sequel”The VergeVox Media, Inc. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  90. Jump up^ Blade Runner’ sequel concept art: See a first look”EW.com. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  91. Jump up^ Busch, Anita (October 6, 2016). Blade Runner’ Sequel Finally Has A Title, Will Offer VR Experiences For Film Through Oculus – Update”Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  92. Jump up^ Fleming Jr, Mike (13 March 2017). “Ridley Scott To Next Helm Getty Kidnap Drama; Natalie Portman Courted”Deadline. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  93. Jump up^ Fleming Jr, Mike (31 March 2017). “Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg Circling Ridley Scott’s Getty Kidnap Film”Deadline. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  94. Jump up to:a b c “Director Ridley Scott talks about replacing Kevin Spacey in new film”. BBC. 1 December 2017.
  95. Jump up^ “All the Money in the World (2017)”Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  96. Jump up^ Fleming, Mike (8 January 2016). “Ridley Scott Captivated By ‘The Prisoner’, Film Version of Patrick McGoohan TV Series”. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  97. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott Reteaming with Drew Goddard for Western ‘Wraiths of the Broken Land’ “. Collider. Retrieved 10 May 2016
  98. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott to direct Battle of Britain ‘passion project’ movie”. The Guardian. 5 April 2017.
  99. Jump up^ Hicks, Corporal. “Alien: Covenant 2 to Start Shooting in 14 Months?”.
  100. Jump up^ Galuppo, Mia (4 January 2018). “Ridley Scott in Talks to Direct a ‘Merlin’ Movie for Disney”The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  101. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott in Talks to Direct ‘Queen & Country’ for Fox”Hollywood Reporter. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  102. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott to remake The A-Team”BBC News Online. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  103. Jump up^ Fleming, Michael (27 January 2009). “Fox assembles ‘A-Team. Variety. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  104. Jump up^ “Watch The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Episode – Amazon Video”http://www.amazon.com. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  105. Jump up^ “BrainDead”Backstage. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  106. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott”Hollywood.com. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  107. Jump up^ Lloyd, Robert (13 June 2016). The Good Wife’s’ creators are back with the imperfect but fun ‘Braindead’ mixing D.C politics … and bugs from space”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  108. Jump up^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 2, 2016). “AMC Orders ‘The Terror’ Anthology Drama Series From Scott Free”Deadline. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  109. Jump up^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 13, 2013). “AMC Developing ‘Terror’ Drama Produced By Scott Free, TV 360 & Alexandra Milchan”Deadline. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  110. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott: Interviews”. p. xviii. University Press of Mississippi, 2005
  111. Jump up^ Mottram, James (3 September 2010). “Ridley Scott: ‘I’m doing pretty good, if you think about itThe Independent. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  112. Jump up^ “Sir Ridley Scott: Hollywood visionary”. BBC. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  113. Jump up^ Harper, Tom; Jury, Louise (20 August 2012). “Hollywood pays tribute to Top Gun director Tony Scott following suicide leap”London Evening Standard. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  114. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott breaks silence on brother Tony Scott’s death”. 28 November 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  115. Jump up^ “Coma – Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More”Metacritic. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  116. Jump up^ Sternbergh, Adam (25 October 2013). “Ridley Scott: ‘Most Novelists Are Desperate to Do What I DoThe New York Times. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  117. Jump up^ “Tony Scott’s Spirit Possesses Ridley Scott’s The Counselor”. Roger Ebert. 4 January 2015.
  118. Jump up^ “Golden Globes 2016 ceremony – in pictures”. The Guardian. 30 January 2016.
  119. Jump up^ Carnevale, Rob (September 24, 2014). “Calling the Shots No.41: Ridley Scott”BBC. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  120. Jump up to:a b American Gangster DVD, Fallen Empire: The Making of American Gangster documentary
  121. Jump up^ Caldwell, David. “Paul M. Sammon interview”. BRmovie.com. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  122. Jump up^ Prometheus” Crew: On A Mission Collision”Philippine Daily Inquirer. 29 April 2012. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  123. Jump up^ “Yahoo! Movies: Ridley Scott”. Yahoo!. 30 November 1937. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  124. Jump up^ “Ridley Scott: ‘Magic comes over the horizon every day’ | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture”Los Angeles Times. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  125. Jump up^ The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott, p. 121-142, Lexington Books, 2013.
  126. Jump up^ The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott, p. 136-142, Lexington Books, 2013.
  127. Jump up^ The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott, p. 140-142, Lexington Books, 2013.
  128. Jump up^ “No. 56797”The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2002. p. 1.
  129. Jump up^ “Queen knights Gladiator director”BBC News. 8 July 2003. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  130. Jump up^ “Science Fiction Hall of Fame to Induct Ed Emshwiller, Gene Roddenberry, Ridley Scott and Gene Wolfe”. Retrieved 26 April2015.[dead link]. Press release March/April/May 2007. Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (empsfm.org). Archived 14 October 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2013
  131. Jump up^ “RIDLEY SCOTT ZUM ACHTZIGSTEN :Der selbstleuchtende Sehnerv”. Frankfurter Allgemeine – FAZ.net. 30 November 2017.
  132. Jump up^ Hollywood stars for Simon Fuller and Sir Ridley Scott BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  133. Jump up^ “New faces on Sgt Pepper album cover for artist Peter Blake’s 80th birthday”. The Guardian. 5 October 2016.
  134. Jump up^ “RCA Convocation 2015”. RCA [view from 13:55 and 31:45]. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  135. Jump up^ “Honorary Doctors”. RCA. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ridley_Scott

How Blade Runner Changed The Way I Think About Writing

In my most recent video essay on blade runner I said Deckard, the protagonist of the first film and prominent character in the second is not a replicant despite the fact Ridley Scott (the director of the first film) has said on many occasions that his character is in fact a replicant. In this cheeky little post I want to defend my statement and I want to voice an invaluable lesson Ridley Scott has unknowingly taught me about storytelling.

But first, in order for me to make my point I want to tell you a story, it is a story that may or may not be true but then again why are you trusting me, I’m a writer, I lie for a living. So here’s how the story goes. One day, a 14 year old english student was set an assignment by her teacher to create an essay on a novel. The teacher for weeks lectured the class on what the novel is about, the intricacies of what it’s themes are, its use of symbolism and a number of meanings intended by the creator by the means of a particularly boring powerpoint presentation.

However there was a rather happy coincidence, her father just so happened to be the writer who created the book in the first place so she did what any resourceful student would do an asked him about the book. What did he mean when he used that piece of symbolism? What are the core morals and themes of the story? The father happily answered all of her questions and spent a whole hour telling her about his intentions and thoughts that went through his head when he wrote it and all the while the girl jotted down every nugget of information on her notepad.

So the following week the essay was due and using her notes straight from the source she explained the symbolism and themes with a great big smile on her face and without even checking over the paper twice she handed it in to the teacher gleaming with confidence.

The next day the teacher came to her desk and handed back her paper, the result, a C+. She didn’t know how to feel, shocked might of been the most accurate word. She stomped up to her teacher after class asking why she got such a mediocre grade on a paper she was dead certain she should of gotten at least a B.

The teacher turned to her. “I’m sorry, it was certainly a well thought out essay but you totally ignored everything I said. The core theme is clearly about the fragility of life however you have put that it is about the relationship between a father and his daughter not to mention the vast majority of what you said went totally against what I taught you. You clearly weren’t paying much attention in my class.”

The girl got one of the lowest grades in the class because the interpretation she provided, despite the fact it was from the original writer was totally different to what the teacher had said it was.

A number of months ago I told a family friend that story and I said

“Isn’t that just absurd, how could that teacher be any more in the wrong?”

To which he replied

“Not really, what makes her interpretation any more valid than the writer’s?”

Now whether that story I told you was entirely true or just pure fiction is ultimately irrelevant. Now was the teacher in the wrong? Absolutely, all art is a very malleable medium and often the best pieces are ones where five people consume it and all come out with their own interpretation. The fact the English teacher thought her interpretation was correct and all others where incorrect was just flat out ignorant however it does raise a fascinating question. Why is the writer’s intended meanings any more or less valid than the meanings of a person who reads said work?

This all comes back to blade runner because when Ridley Scott said Deckard is a replicant it taught me a valuable lesson; that the best policy a writer can adhere to is to never state what one means when one writes a certain line because when like Scott one states exactly what something means then it spoils the fun of the viewer/reader trying to come to their own opinions as to what a certain shot or scene or even the entire story meant.

Part of the reason a truly great film like blade runner is great is because it invites the viewer to come to their own conclusions as to what it means and when Scott said what he did it, to a small degree it hindered my enjoyment of the film because there is a reason a magician never reveals his secrets because part of the fun is trying to realise how he did it and the moment he explains how, the show suddenly becomes less engaging for the viewer.

So that is the lesson Ridley Scott unknowingly taught me. That if a fan comes up to you and says…

“I love how the protagonist’s struggle to never kill anyone was an allegory for our societies struggle with capital punishment”

And even when their interpretation in ‘wrong’ and nowhere near what you intended you should never correct them because not only does it make you look more clever than you actually are but it also spoils the fun of consuming one’s art as the individual coming to their own conclusions is in part, what great art is all about.

(Drops mic)

Also a big thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring my blade runner video and giving me this site for free. If you want to get your own site for no initial fee and then 10% off your first purchase please use this link: http://www.squarespace.com/closerlook  

If you use that link you will be directly supporting me 🙂

https://www.sharpeverse.com/blog/2018/1/22/how-blade-runner-changed-the-way-i-think-about-writing

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Sharyl Attkisson — The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News CONTROL What You See, What You Think, and HOW YOU VOTE — Videos

Posted on September 24, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Education, Employment, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fraud, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, IRS, Journalism, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Literacy, media, Media Streamers, Mobile Phones, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Security, Sociology, Speech, Strategy, Success, Systems, Tablet, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Sharyl Attkisson – The Smear

Ingraham: The judgment and injustice of Kavanaugh

Attkisson: Media no longer follows rules because of Trump

Trump administration’s fight against fake news

Sharyl Attkisson – Trump DOJ & State Withholding Fast & Furious Documents

Lars Larson Show with Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson speaks out about Obama-era surveillance

Sharyl Attkisson: why she left CBS

PLC2015 Sharyl Attkission Q and A

How Real Is Fake News? | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDx University of Nevada

Sharyl Attkisson: “Journalism is suffering from a crisis of its own making”

Sharyl Attkisson Keynote: The Rightful Owners of Public Information

“Investigative Journalism and the Obama Administration” – Sharyl Attkisson

Atkisson: I’ve never seen journalists so uncurious about spying

Astroturf and manipulation of media messages | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDxUniversityofNevada

Sharyl Attkisson: ‘Government Hacked Me” | msnbc

Sharyl Attkisson Talks “Stonewalled”

Richard Nixon Foundation
Published on Mar 11, 2015
March 10, 2015: Author of Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington The Emmy-award winner spoke of how she was the target of hacking and surveillance while reporting in Washington DC and offered an incisive critique of the media and the shrinking role of investigative journalism in today’s world. Sharyl Attkisson has been a journalist for more than 20 years. During that time she has exposed scandals and covered controversies under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Q&A: Sharyl Attkisson

Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson is television’s most original Sunday news program. The program specializes in fearless reporting on untouchable subjects to bring you stories you won’t see anywhere else. The host is investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, five-time Emmy Award winner and recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting. Attkisson is backed by a team of award winning journalists.

FULL MEASURE: September 23, 2018 – Uneven Admissions

FULL MEASURE: September 23, 2018 – Flood Funding

FULL MEASURE: September 16, 2018 – Anti-Sanctuary

FULL MEASURE: September 10, 2017 – Apocalypse When

FULL MEASURE: September 9, 2018 – Raven 23

FULL MEASURE: SEPTEMBER 2, 2018

Full Measure: Season 3, Episode 38

FULL MEASURE: April 15, 2018 – DNA Database

FULL MEASURE: April 1, 2018 – Snowflake Syndrome Part 2

FULL MEASURE: February 18, 2018 – Washington’s Press

FULL MEASURE: February 18, 2018 – Russia Probe

FULL MEASURE: January 21, 2018 – Cram Culture

FULL MEASURE: January 21, 2018 – Trump and Media

Full Measure Continuing Coverage: Swamp Creatures

FULL MEASURE: November 12, 2017 – The Big Miss Revisited

FULL MEASURE: October 29, 2017 – High-Speed Spending

Sharyl Attkisson
American author
Sharyl Attkisson is an American author and host of the weekly Sunday public affairs program Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, which airs on television stations operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. She was formerly an investigative correspondent in the Washington bureau for CBS News. Wikipedia
BornJanuary 26, 1961 (age 57 years), Sarasota, FL

 

Sharyl Attkisson

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Sharyl Attkisson
AttkissonB52.jpg

Attkisson on a USAF B-52 in 1999
Born Sharyl Lynn Thompson
26 January 1961 (age 57)
SarasotaFloridaU.S.
Residence Leesburg, Virginia
Education
Occupation Writer, journalist, television correspondent
Spouse(s) James Howard Attkisson (m. 1984)
Children daughter (born ~1995)
Website sharylattkisson.com
fullmeasure.news
Notes

Sharyl Attkisson (born January 26, 1961[4]) is an American author and host of the weekly Sunday public affairs program Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, which airs on television stations operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[5] She was formerly an investigative correspondent in the Washington bureau for CBS News. She had also substituted as anchor for the CBS Evening News. She resigned from CBS News on March 10, 2014, after 21 years with the network. Her book Stonewalled reached number 3 on The New York Times e-book non-fiction best seller list in November 2014[6] and number 5 on The New York Times combined print and e-book non-fiction best-seller list the same week.[7]

 

Early life

Attkisson was born in 1961 in SarasotaFlorida.[8] Her step-father is an orthopedic surgeon, and her brother is an emergency room physician. Attkisson graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1982.[9]

Career

Attkisson began her broadcast journalism career in 1982 as a reporter at WUFT-TV, the PBS station in Gainesville, Florida. She later worked as an anchor and reporter at WTVX-TV Fort Pierce/West Palm Beach, Florida from 1982–1985, WBNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio from 1985–86, and WTVT Tampa, Florida (1986–1990).[10]

1990s

From 1990–1993, Attkisson was an anchor for CNN, and also served as a key anchor for CBS space exploration coverage in 1993.[11] Attkisson left CNN in 1993,[12] moving to CBS, where she anchored the television news broadcast CBS News Up to the Minute and became an investigative correspondent based in Washington, D.C.[10]

She served on the University of Florida‘s Journalism College Advisory Board (1993–1997) and was its chair in 1996.[10] The University gave her an Outstanding Achievement Award in 1997. From 1997 to 2003, Attkisson simultaneously hosted CBS News Up to the Minuteand the PBS health-news magazine HealthWeek.[13]

2000s

Attkisson received an Investigative Reporters and Editors (I.R.E.) Finalist award for Dangerous Drugs in 2000.[14] In 2001, Attkisson received an Investigative Emmy Award nomination for Firestone Tire Fiasco from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[15]

In 2002, she co-authored a college textbook, Writing Right for Broadcast and Internet News; later that same year she won an Emmy Award for her Investigative Journalism about the American Red Cross.[10] The award was presented in New York City on September 10, 2002.[16] Attkisson was part of the CBS News team that received RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2005 for Overall Excellence.[14]

In 2006, Attkisson served as Capitol Hill correspondent for CBS,[17] as one of a small number of female anchors covering the 2006 midterms.[18] Attkisson was part of the CBS News team that received RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2008 for Overall Excellence.[14]

In 2008, Attkisson reported that a claim by Hillary Clinton to have dodged sniper fire in Bosnia was unfounded: Clinton’s trip to Bosnia was risky, Attkisson said, but no real bullets were dodged. Attkisson was on the trip with Clinton.[19] The day after Attkisson’s report on the CBS Evening News, Clinton admitted there was no sniper fire and said she “misspoke.” [20][21] In 2009, Attkisson won an Investigative Emmy Award for Business and Financial Reporting for her exclusive reports on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the bank bailout.[14] The award was presented on December 7 at Fordham University‘s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City.[22]

2010s

Attkisson returned to the University of Florida as a keynote speaker at the College of Journalism and Communications in 2010.[9] That same year, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her investigations into members of Congress, and she also received a 2010 Emmy Award nomination for her investigation into waste of tax dollars.[23] In July 2011, Attkisson was nominated for an Emmy Award for her Follow the Money investigations into Congressional travel to the Copenhagen climate summit, and problems with aid to Haiti earthquake victims.[14][24]

In 2011, Paul Offit criticized Attkisson’s reporting on vaccines as “damning by association” and lacking sufficient evidence in his book Deadly Choices .[25] In the medical literature, Attkisson has been accused of using problematic rhetorical tactics to “imply that because there is no conclusive answer to certain problems, vaccines remain a plausible culprit.”[26]

In 2012, CBS News accepted an Investigative Reporting Award given to Attkisson’s reporting on ATF’s Fast and Furious gunwalker controversy. The award was from Accuracy in Media, a non-profit news media watchdog group, and was presented at a Conservative Political Action Conference.[27]

In June 2012, Attkisson’s investigative reporting for the Gunwalker story also won the CBS Evening News the Radio and Television News Directors Association’s National Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Investigative Reporting. The award was presented October 8, 2012 in New York City.[28] In July 2012, Attkisson’s Gunwalker: Fast and Furious reporting received an Emmy Award.[29]

On March 10, 2014, Attkisson resigned from CBS News in what she stated was an “amicable” parting.[30][31] Politico reported that according to sources within CBS there had been tensions leading to “months of hard-fought negotiations” – that Attkisson had been frustrated over what she perceived to be the network’s liberal bias and lack of dedication to investigative reporting, as well as issues she had with the network’s corporate partners, while some colleagues within the network saw her reporting as agenda-driven and doubted her impartiality.[31]

Later that year, her book Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington (Harpers) was published.[7] In this work, she accused CBS of protecting the Obama administration by not giving enough coverage to such stories as the 2012 Benghazi attack and slow initial enrollments under Obamacare.[32] The book was a New York Times Best Seller.[7]

The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote was published by HarperCollins in summer 2017.[33]

Report of Attkisson’s computer being hacked

In May 2013, while still employed at CBS, Attkisson alleged that her personal and work computers had been “compromised” for more than two years.